Saturday, 20 October, 2018


Afghan forces now in control of Ghazni, say officials

Afghan forces now in control of Ghazni, say officials Afghan forces now in control of Ghazni, say officials
Bennie Garza | 15 August, 2018, 10:29

Government and police buildings in the city of Ghazni were under attack Sunday by Taliban militants attempting to seize control of the provincial capital, according to local lawmakers and residents.

News of what exactly is happening in Ghazni, a provincial capital on the key road between Kabul and Kandahar, is hard to get after the militants damaged a telecommunications tower.

Ghazni is a gateway city linking the heavily Taliban-influenced south and east of Afghanistan to Kabul and is one of the last vestiges of government control in the province of the same name. The road from Kabul to Afghanistan's southern provinces was also closed because it runs through Ghazni.

Mohammad Rahim Hasanyar, a member of the provincial council, said heavy fighting was continuing in several areas of the city and Afghan forces were in defense mode.

Interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish said fresh reinforcements had arrived in the area and were battling Taliban fighters north of Ghazni, promising that the insurgents were in no position to take control of the city.

The U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation formally concluded their combat mission at the end of 2014, but have repeatedly come to the aid of Afghan forces as they have struggled to combat a resurgent Taliban.

City hospital administrator Baz Mohammad Hemat said two wounded civilians were brought in for treatment.

More than 100 people have been killed and 133 injured in the ongoing Taliban attack in Afghanistan Ghazni.

The Taliban's four-day trip to Uzbekistan, which ended Friday, was the strongest sign yet of the group's growing regional clout, while the Ghazni assault has highlighted its military prowess.

In 2015, the Taliban seized for several days the northern city of Kunduz, its greatest military achievement since the USA invasion in 2001.

Pompeo also said the role of foreign forces in Afghanistan would be on the table.

For all the talk of peace negotiations, the Taliban have stepped up attacks on provincial centers and the capital Kabul this year, demonstrating their continued ability to hit the USA -supported forces.

But Ghazni MP Nafisa Azimi characterized the clashes on Saturday as "intense" and said the Taliban were trying to free prisoners from the city prison.

Both the governor's compound and central police compound were under the control of Afghan security forces.

The move was welcomed by some in Kabul, where pressure is mounting to engage the insurgents and end the almost 17-year-old war.

Anticipation had been mounting about the possibility of a government ceasefire announcement for the Islamic holiday of Eid-al Adha later this month. Washington neither confirmed nor denied the meeting, but acknowledged Wells was in Qatar, where the Taliban maintain an office.

Still, there was no indication from either side that progress toward substantive talks between the Taliban and the government was made.

Earlier this year, the USA sent more military advisers to Afghanistan. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall.

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