Taliban cling to pockets of Afghan city after assault

Tuesday, 14 Aug, 2018

The convoy was from Paktia province and had traveled through Logar province into Wardak when the incident happened.

Rik Peeperkorn, acting United Nations humanitarian co-ordinator for Afghanistan, said residents "have seen their city turn into a battlefield since Friday morning, with fighting and clashes reportedly still ongoing".

There were heavy clashes between the terrorists and government forces during the assault.

The Taliban claim to have seized parts of the city and to have killed local officials.

"Afghan security forces in the next two days will be able to restore peace and stability to Ghanzi and reopen the highway to enable our countrymen to travel from south and west to Kabul", vowed the army chief.

The Paktia convoy is not however the only convoy on its way to Ghazni. The battle extended into the day, and USA forces eventually sent air support to bolster Afghan security forces - this meant close air support (attack helicopters) and one drone strike.

He said that despite the fact that army reinforcements were on the outskirts of the city, they have made no advance to move within.

More than a hundred Afghan troops are believed to have been killed and Taliban losses... That said, clearing operations are ongoing and sporadic clashes are occurring.

Faqiri claimed that Taliban used the Afghan forces' focus on the city to attack and capture the district centers.

Lt. Colonel Martin O'Donnell, a spokesman for US Forces Afghanistan at the US headquarters in Kabul, issued a statement saying the US had carried out five airstrikes on Saturday and four on Sunday.

The provincial government media office in a statement confirmed the airstrike and the death toll of the Taliban militants during the airstrikes.

This has been the worst Taliban offensive on a provincial capital since the brief occupation of the western city of Farah in May.

Smoke rising into the air after Taliban launched an attack on Ghazni, where terrified residents cowered in their homes amid explosions and gunfire as security forces fought to beat the insurgents back.

Defense Ministry spokesman Mohammad Radmanesh told RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan that Ghazni, some 150 kilometers southeast of Kabul, was under complete control of the security forces.But he saidclearance operations were continuing.

Hemat, the hospital administrator, said two wounded civilians were also brought to the hospital but that the city was shut down and that ambulances were not being sent out.

"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 legislator from Ghazni. The fighting severely damaged Ghazni's historic neighbourhoods and cultural treasures, Bahrami said, adding that he believes the next 24 hours would turn the tide in the battle.

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. The increasing insecurity has resulted in a decision by the Independent Election Commission to delay the upcoming parliamentary election in the province.