Published: Sat, August 11, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Taliban fighters clash with security forces in key city

Taliban fighters clash with security forces in key city

After dawn Friday, Ghazni's residents were staying indoors and all shops in the city remained closed.

"We are scared for our life".

Earlier, Mashal said the Taliban waged attacks at 12am midnight on security posts soon after entering the city from various directions.

Provincial security Chief Farid Ahmad Mashal says the dead bodies of at least 39 militants are left in the eastern parts of the city.

He said there were many challenges at the moment regarding the issue and that the "Taliban have also some kind of topic that some stakeholders can't accept". "There has not been a single minute of silence for the last eight hours", said a senior government official in Ghazni. He was anxious more wounded could be out there as the city was shut down and ambulances were not being sent out.

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Officials said clashes between government forces and the Taliban started overnight, forcing authorities to close the highway linking it to Kabul, 150 kilometres (95 miles) to the northeast.

USA attack helicopters aided Afghan forces and there was a drone strike, he added.

Police special forces have also been deployed to help block the Taliban advance, an Afghan security official said.

The defence ministry in Kabul said the attackers had been beaten back but were still present in one area of the city and had occupied civilian houses, from where they were still keeping up occasional fire on security forces clearing the area. Forces-Afghanistan, which oversees American troops in the country, confirmed the attack via Twitter, calling it a "failed attempt" to capture territory. U.S. "Our defense and security forces are in full control of the city", Rahimi said.

The Taliban frequently exaggerate their battlefield gains and downplay losses incurred during fighting.

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The Taliban has long insisted on direct talks with the United States.

They came close to repeating the feat in 2016, and in May this year they almost overran the western city of Farah before being beaten back with the aid of USA forces. Washington has repeatedly refused, saying negotiations must be Afghan-led.

Andrew Wilder, vice president of Asia programs at the U.S. Institute of Peace, said the attack by the insurgents was "a well-timed effort to demonstrate their military power to strengthen their negotiating position prior to another cease-fire and in the event of peace talks". "In addition, US aircraft conducted a show of presence", Lt Col. Martin O'Donnell, spokesman for US Forces-Afghanistan, said in an emailed statement.

The brazen assaults by the Taliban, who have been gaining more ground in their annual spring offensive and who have shrugged off the government's latest offers of a cease-fire and negotiations, underscore the difficulties Afghan forces face in battling the relentless insurgency on their own in efforts to end the almost 17-year war.

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