Afghan Taliban delegation visits Uzbekistan to discuss peace, security

12 August, 2018, 21:09 | Author: Myra Gill
  • Taliban storms strategic Afghan cityMore

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.

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.

An AFP reporter on the ground said Taliban fighters continued to roam the city, torching government offices and in control of several police checkpoints, with reinforcements deployed from Kabul slowly entering the city to confront the insurgents.

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.

But local officials have warned for months that Ghazni, a strategic city on the main highway linking Kabul with Afghanistan's south, was under threat, with the Taliban in control of most of the surrounding province.

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 militant groups.

The Taliban have contested several provincial capitals over the past few years, and generally speaking have launched smaller raids against security forces, trying to soften them up and challenge the defenses within, before making serious attempts to capture them outright. 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.


Security officials said that due to clashes in parts of Sayed Abad district in Wardak province, the Kabul-Kandahar highway is still close to traffic.

There are also reports the road outside the city has been mined, making it hard for residents to escape.

"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.

A USA military spokesman said Sunday that American aircraft had conducted five airstrikes on Saturday and 10 on Sunday.

Short videos circulating on social media, purported to be from Ghazni, showed patrols by a number of heavily armed Taliban, with a large plume of smoke and flames coming out from the city.

The Taliban have not taken a major provincial centre since they overran the northern city of Kunduz in 2015 and the assault on Ghazni was a major blow to the Western-backed government just weeks before parliamentary elections scheduled for October 20.

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