Taliban cling to pockets of Afghan city after assault

Clay Curtis
August 15, 2018

Within hours, the Taliban claimed to have much of the capital under their control.

The thousands of Western forces still there are focused on providing support and training to Afghan forces and carrying out counter-terrorism operations. The highway from Kabul to Afghanistan's southern provinces, which runs through Ghazni, is still closed.

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.

Residents hid in their homes or attempted to flee the fighting, with basic provisions increasingly scarce and expensive, according to residents and officials. That said, clearing operations are ongoing and sporadic clashes are occurring.

Danish said at least 25 security forces had died in the fighting along with 150 Taliban fighters.

Afghan troops and Taliban fighters clashed across an eastern Afghan city on Saturday, as each side claimed the upper hand in the latest major confrontation in the 17-year war between USA -backed government forces and the country's largest, most powerful insurgency.

They attacked media offices and damaged a telecommunications tower - shutting off mobile service to the city as of Friday and making information about the fight hard to verify.

Power has been cut to Ghazni since the fighting erupted, with communications in the area appearing to be down.

Mustafa's wife, Razia, said they had no food, water or and electricity for four days.

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Mashal said there were more than 100 other casualties but he could not give a breakdown of the dead and wounded.

Wasih said that since his son's wound was not serious, he chose to take him to Kabul for treatment.

"Communications networks and electricity supply are now down in the city, resulting in water shortages, and food is also reportedly running low", Haq said.

A spokesman for USA forces in Afghanistan also described the fight for Ghazni as a clearance operation, with sporadic clashes between security forces and insurgents punctuating relative calm.

At 11.30am local time a Ghazni-based journalist said heavy clashes had just broken out in PD2 of Ghazni city.

Suhail Shaheen, spokesman for the Taliban's political office in Qatar, said in a statement to The Associated Press on Saturday that discussions covered everything from withdrawal of worldwide troops from Afghanistan to peace prospects and possible Uzbek-funded development projects that could include railway lines and electricity.

"Only the governor's office, police headquarters and intelligence agency's compound are in the hands of the government", Ghazni provincial official says, amid government claim the city was firmly under its control not Taliban's. Mohammad said locals were coming out of Ghazni and military convoys were heading in.

The battle extended into the day, and US forces eventually sent air support to bolster Afghan security forces - this meant close air support (attack helicopters) and one drone strike.

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