Afghan forces confront Taliban militants in Ghazni days after brazen assault

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Mohammad Arif Shahjahan, an MP from Ghazni, instructed CNN Monday Taliban fighters had taken management of key buildings, together with the police headquarters and a few authorities workplaces.

Lots of the useless had been safety forces, he mentioned, including that many extra had been injured, as preventing continued into its fourth day, regardless of authorities and US assurances that the assault had failed.

Taliban militants stormed the strategically necessary metropolis Friday in an try to determine a base inside easy accessibility of the capital Kabul to the north, and roads to western and a few southern provinces.

The transfer maybe probably the most severe problem to the federal government’s maintain in city areas because the Taliban briefly occupied the town of Kunduz in 2015, and comes at a time when the Trump administration seems to be accelerating negotiations with an insurgency it has been preventing for 17 years.

In line with a tweet from Afghanistan’s Inside Ministry Sunday, Ghazni police had began a deliberate clearance operation within the metropolis, in an try and push the militants out.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani mentioned on his official Twitter account Sunday that he had chaired an emergency assembly to debate the state of affairs in Ghazni Province, and it was decided that additional back-up was wanted.

“After detailed overview of the stories, the assembly determined that to be able to consolidate operational positive aspects, additional reinforcements ought to be dispatched to the province on pressing foundation,” Ghani mentioned.

There have been stories of sporadic preventing over the weekend, however a spokesman for the Afghan Nationwide Military mentioned Saturday the town was “underneath the entire management of Afghan safety forces.”

“Afghan Nationwide Military reinforcements are making their option to Ghazni metropolis to assist the Afghan Nationwide Police search and clear the town of insurgents that will nonetheless be hiding within the metropolis,” mentioned Maj. Mohammad Farooq, an Afghan Nationwide Military 203rd Corps spokesman.

Friday assault

The preventing started at about 1 a.m. on Friday, when lots of of armed fighters entered Ghazni and captured a variety of key websites, based on Zabiullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban.

United States forces responded with assault helicopters and a drone strike, mentioned US Forces Afghanistan spokesman Lt. Col. Martin O’Donnell.

After intense preventing within the metropolis’s streets, Afghan and NATO forces had been in a position to push the Taliban to the outskirts of the town Friday afternoon, based on Mohammad Radmanish, a spokesman for the Afghanistan Ministry of Protection.

US Forces Afghanistan known as the offensive a “failed try” to grab territory.

“Tactically, operationally and strategically, the Taliban achieved nothing with this failed assault besides one other eye-catching, however inconsequential headline,” mentioned LT. Col. Martin O’Donnell, a spokesman for US Forces Afghanistan.

“The actual fact stays that the Taliban are unable to grab terrain and unable to match the Afghan safety forces or our enablement, retreating as soon as immediately and decisively engaged.”

O’Donnell mentioned Sunday Afghan forces had been accountable for all authorities facilities within the metropolis.

It is unclear precisely how many individuals had been killed within the preventing.

Ghazni Hospital Director Dr. Baz Mohammad Hemat mentioned the demise toll is between 120 and 160 folks and consists of each navy and civilian casualties. Radmanish mentioned greater than 150 Taliban fighters had been additionally killed within the battle. Mujahid mentioned 140 Afghan troopers had been killed, although US authorities disputed that determine.

Bold assault

The assault on a serious inhabitants heart was one of many group’s most bold navy strikes in years, and was additional proof {that a} violent stalemate between the federal government and the Taliban persists. In Could, the rebel group briefly overran the western metropolis of Farah, however Ghazni is much extra necessary and the dimensions of the assault a lot better.

If the town fell to the Taliban, it could compromise the safety of the capital and the eight provinces it borders.

Nonetheless, whereas the Taliban is able to controlling rural areas, the mix of Afghan troops with US air assist has prevented its fighters from taking and holding inhabitants facilities.

The assault is the newest rebel assault within the nation because the Afghan authorities unilaterally called off a ceasefire that it had in place for Eid al-Fitr, the vacation marking the tip of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The Taliban, together with different militant teams equivalent to ISIS, routinely assault navy and civilian targets within the nation.

CNN’s Ryan Browne, Ehsan Poplazi, Euan McKirdy, Tim Lister and Mirwais Jalalzai contributed to this report



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