Ghazni Battle: Intense preventing continues as Taliban presses to take Afghan metropolis
Taliban insurgents attacked police headquarters and different authorities buildings in Ghazni in central Afghanistan on Sunday and have been threatening to grab management of town, with the primary freeway now closely mined, native lawmakers and residents mentioned.
US plane performed no less than 4 air strikes and native media mentioned round 100 folks, largely members of the safety forces, had been killed. However particulars of the preventing have been unclear as many of the metropolis’s telecoms masts have been destroyed in preventing over current days.
Mohammad Sharif Yaftali, Afghan military chief of employees, mentioned town was not underneath menace of collapse and heavy preventing was underway to push again the Taliban from metropolis limits.
“Strategic places and centres within the metropolis are underneath the management of Afghan forces and the Taliban are hiding inside folks’s houses and retailers and resisting,” Yaftali advised reporters at a information convention in Kabul.
However lawmakers from Ghazni who managed to speak to some residents mentioned Taliban have been in charge of a lot of town after launching an preliminary assault within the early hours of Friday.
“Solely the governor’s workplace, police headquarters and intelligence company’s compound are within the arms of the federal government and Taliban are pushing to take them,” mentioned Chaman Shah Ehtemadi, a lawmaker from Ghazni.
The assault, the heaviest blow struck by the Taliban since they got here near overrunning the western metropolis of Farah in Could, dampened hopes of peace talks which had grown since a shock three-day truce through the Eid al-Fitr vacation in June.
However native officers have warned for months that Ghazni, a strategic metropolis on the primary freeway linking Kabul with Afghanistan’s south, was underneath menace, with the Taliban in charge of many of the surrounding province.
Mohammad Rahim Hasanyar, a member of the provincial council, mentioned heavy preventing was persevering with in a number of areas of town and Afghan forces have been in defence mode.
“Nobody is aware of what the precise state of affairs is as a result of there isn’t any communication service,” he mentioned.
There was no confirmed phrase on casualties. Quoting a hospital official, Afghanistan’s 1TV tv reported greater than 90 members of the safety forces and 13 civilians had been killed, with greater than 100 wounded. It mentioned there had additionally been heavy Taliban casualties.
The Purple Cross mentioned in a message on Twitter that it was watching the state of affairs intently. It had provided physique luggage to the provincial hospital and was prepared to supply extra help.
“FIRE AND DEAD BODIES”
With the freeway closely mined to stop reinforcements from arriving, residents have been largely blocked inside however some who managed to flee throughout fields on town’s periphery mentioned many authorities buildings have been ablaze.
“There was burning and hearth and lifeless our bodies in all places within the metropolis,” mentioned Abdul Wakil, a neighborhood resident who escaped, advised Reuters at a checkpoint into Kabul.
President Ashraf Ghani made no point out of the disaster throughout an prolonged speech on youth affairs on Sunday and with little popping out from the federal government, folks have been left to depend on different sources of data.
Quick movies circulating on social media, presupposed to be from Ghazni, confirmed quite a few closely armed Taliban patrolling within the metropolis with a big plume of smoke and flames popping out from the city.
“It’s over and town is taken,” mentioned a person standing exterior his house, with a number of Taliban insurgents close by.
The movies couldn’t be independently verified by Reuters however they generated heavy commentary by social media customers that underlined the shock brought on by the assault.
US army headquarters in Kabul mentioned sporadic clashes have been occurring and American plane had performed 5 strikes on Saturday and 4 extra on Sunday.
“The Afghan Nationwide Defence and Safety Forces proceed to carry their floor and keep management of all authorities centres,” Lt Col Martin O’Donnell, U.S. Forces Afghanistan spokesman, mentioned in an emailed assertion.
The Taliban haven’t taken a serious provincial centre since they overran the northern metropolis of Kunduz in 2015 and the assault on Ghazni was a serious blow to the Western-backed authorities simply weeks earlier than parliamentary elections scheduled for October 20.