United States launches airstrikes as Taliban attack Afghan city

Frederick Owens
August 15, 2018

Information was hard to obtain because the Taliban destroyed a telecommunications tower, cutting electricity and mobile phone service to the area.

The Afghan military said a clearance operation targeting Taliban fighters was ongoing, insisting they remained in control of key government offices.

The government in Kabul insisted that Ghazni was under its control but residents reported fierce clashes in several districts of the city and streets strewn with corpses.

Faqiri added that part of the police headquarters in the south-eastern city had caught fire as Taliban and Afghan security forces battled for control of the facility.

Taliban insurgents also assaulted and overran the Ajristan district west of Ghazni, killing dozens of Afghan security forces.

The U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation formally concluded their combat mission at the end of 2014, but have repeatedly come to the aid of Afghan forces as they have struggled to combat a resurgent Taliban.

Most of the telecommunication towers in the city have been blown up making communications hard.

Hospital officials and residents fleeing the city have told local reporters the provincial hospital received more than 100 bodes of Afghan soldiers and police personnel, and said the hospital was running out of space.

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Ghazni - less than two hours by road from Kabul - has been under threat from massing Taliban fighters for months, with residents saying the complex nature of the attacks was unprecedented in its scale.

After a day of intense fighting, Afghan commandos and USA air strikes drove the group to the outskirts of the city.

Still, the meetings are significant, coming as the Taliban are ramping up pressure on Afghan security forces with relentless and deadly attacks.

This comes as the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev had earlier offered to host talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

A senior Taliban official said the movement had established a political office in the Uzbek capital Tashkent aimed at developing better ties and showing that they did not intend to support local insurgent groups. "The city is not going to fall", Mr. The government had been considering a ceasefire over this month's Eid al Adha holiday to match a similar truce during June's Eid al Fitr holiday.

The fighting has brought the traffic to a halt, stranding hundreds of passengers for the past three days.

The Taliban say they met with Alice Wells, the top USA diplomat for South Asia, in Qatar last month for preliminary talks.

The move was welcomed by some in Kabul, where pressure is mounting to engage the insurgents and end the almost 17-year-old war. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. Although Kabul is also supplied from Pakistan, the trade route to Iran and the Gulf supplies the northern half or the country with many essentials.

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