Monday, 17 December, 2018

Heavy fighting in Ghazni as Afghan forces battle Taliban

Taliban storms strategic Afghan cityMore Taliban storms strategic Afghan cityMore
Pablo Mccormick | 12 August, 2018, 21:08

A Taliban attack on the Afghan city of Ghazni has entered its third day - with intense fighting and conflicting claims over who controls the strategic city.

PHOTO: Smoke rising into the air after Taliban militants launched an attack on the Afghan provincial capital of Ghazni, Aug. 10, 2018.

Gen. Sharif Yaftali, army chief of staff, says all strategic and government offices in Ghazni are still under government control.

Nawroz said that they contacted the interior minister, Wais Ahmad Barmak, a day before the attack and that they shared their concerns on Ghazni City situation, but according to him, the minister said that the city will not fall - to the Taliban.

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Ghazni - around two hours by road from the capital Kabul - has been under increasing danger from massing Taliban fighters for months, with reports suggesting insurgents had infiltrated the city at will.

It has come despite recent Afghan and USA efforts to promote peace talks and build on a successful three-day cease-fire in mid-June.

Taliban fighters stormed a provincial capital in Afghanistan before dawn on Friday, exchanging fire with security forces and reportedly leaving several dead.

"Only the governor's office, police headquarters and intelligence agency's compound are in the hands of the government and Taliban are pushing to take them", said Chaman Shah Ehtemadi, a lawmaker from Ghazni. Quoting a hospital official, Afghanistan's 1TV television reported more than 90 members of the security forces and 13 civilians had been killed, with more than 100 wounded. "We have not witnessed such a large scale attack by the Taliban before", said Andar.

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With the highway heavily mined to prevent reinforcements from arriving, residents were largely blocked inside but some who managed to escape across fields on the city's periphery said many government buildings were ablaze.

"By joining the group, the Taliban in Badghis are weaker and will no longer have the power to fight against the government forces", said Abdul Rahim a member of parliament.

US military headquarters in Kabul said sporadic clashes were occurring and American aircraft had conducted five strikes on Saturday and four more on Sunday.

While little firsthand information was available from the city Sunday and most cellphone communication was cut off, social media showed videos of badly burned and damaged buildings.

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On Sunday, Lt Col Martin O'Donnell, US Forces Afghanistan spokesperson, said the Afghan army "continue to hold their ground and maintain control of all government centres". Forces-Afghanistan, which oversees American troops in the country, confirmed the attack via Twitter, calling it a "failed attempt" to capture territory. U.S.

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