Published: Tue, August 14, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Intense fighting as Taliban presses to take Afghan city

Intense fighting as Taliban presses to take Afghan city

In May, the Taliban attacked the western city of Farah.

Officials are now investigating the situation, figuring out how the Taliban, despite the failure, managed to mount this successful of an attack.

The officials further added that the airstrikes left at least 19 militants dead while a number of weapons belonging to the militants were also destroyed. "Whichever side controls Ghazni, [it] can control the neighbouring provinces of Paktika and Zabul as well", he said.

Mullah Toofan, according to the official, was commanding 300 armed fighters in Qadis district over the past few years and his surrender to government would prove a major setback to the Taliban outfit in Badghis and adjoining areas.

Communication lines have been mostly down for the past two days.

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. After a day of intense fighting, Afghan commandos and USA air strikes drove the group to the outskirts of the city.

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Ghazni sits on the vital highway connecting Kabul to the second largest city, Kandahar, in the south. Ghazni's location and population of around 150,000 people make it an attractive target for the Taliban. Lt. Col. Martin O'Donnell, a spokesman for US forces in Afghanistan, said Afghan forces were engaged in a "cleanup operation", while acknowledging for the first time that "some USA advisers were on the ground".

A senior Taliban official said the movement had established a political office in the Uzbek capital Tashkent aimed at developing better ties and showing that they did not intend to support local insurgent groups.

More than a hundred Afghan troops are believed to have been killed and Taliban losses...

The Taliban on Friday staged a large-scale attack from multiple directions to try to capture Ghazni, which is located on the main highway linking northern and southern Afghan provinces, including the national capital of Kabul. The Afghan government claims to have killed dozens of Taliban fighters. A three-day holiday cease-fire in June brought rare quiet to much of the country, but the Taliban rejected a government request to extend it.

The Taliban attack came as President Ashraf Ghani contemplated a cease-fire offer to mark the Muslim 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.

In a statement to the Associated Press, Suhail Shaheen, a spokesman for the Taliban's political office, claimed that the bilateral talks had covered everything from worldwide troop withdrawal from Afghanistan to peace prospects and possible Uzbek-funded development projects that could include railway lines and electricity.

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