Dozens killed in Afghanistan attacks as violence continues

Frederick Owens
August 18, 2018

Government sources said on Wednesday that over 70 security force members have been killed and dozens more wounded in battles on several fronts around the country including Baghlan, Zabul and Kandahar provinces over the past 24 hours. One witness, another student named Ali Ahmad, said as many as 100 students may have been inside when the bomber struck, but officials have not yet confirmed the figure.

Mattis told reporters Tuesday during a visit to Brazil and Argentina that the fighting in Ghazni was continuing, five days after the Taliban overwhelmed defenses and pushed deep into the city, which is the capital of the province with the same name.

A doctor in the hospital's intensive care unit said they had received over 80 dead as of Sunday and had treated more than 160 patients, many of whom were had been injured by gunshots or shrapnel. The insurgents control or influence a majority of the districts in the province, also named Ghazni.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said it was providing dressing packages and oral and intravenous medicine to treat the wounded, along with electricity generators and fresh water for about 18,000 people.

Afghan forces are conducting clearing operations in the city, but hundreds of civilians have fled, trying to escape the fierce fighting, The Associated Press reported Tuesday.

In Ghazni city, provincial police chief Farid Mashal said Thursday that roads were being cleared of mines planted by Taliban who held on to entire neighbourhoods of the city that they besieged in a surprise overnight assault last Friday.

Afghan men stand near a damaged house following a Taliban attack in Ghazni, Afghanistan. Mohammad said locals were coming out of Ghazni and military convoys were heading in.

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The Taliban group had earlier issued a statement confirming that the fighters of the group have no links with today's attack in Dasht Barchi.

Afghan security forces, beset by killings, desertions and low morale, have taken staggering losses since US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation combat forces pulled out at the end of 2014. It comes before another cease-fire was expected to start next week to mark the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha. A three-day holiday cease-fire in June brought rare quiet to much of the country, but the insurgents rejected a government request to extend it.

Meanwhile, more than 220 Taliban guerrillas were killed by USA airstrikes over Ghazni, according to United States Forces-Afghanistan.

"The Taliban's attack against Ghazni city, and the subsequent fighting in densely populated urban spaces, has again caused bad suffering to civilians caught in the conflict".

Earlier this year, the US sent more military advisers to Afghanistan.

The Red Cross announced previous year it was scaling back operations in Afghanistan after attacks killed a number of its staff. The Islamic State group, in a posting on its Aamaq News Agency, claimed more than 200 people were killed or wounded in Wednesday's suicide bombing.

It would also be the most important strategic victory for the Taliban since they lost control of the country after the 2001 US invasion.

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