US launches airstrikes as Taliban attack Afghan city

Lester Mason
August 10, 2018

After repulsing the first assault, police conducted house-to-house searches for remaining Taliban fighters.

Secret talks were recently held in Qatar between Taliban and USA officials after an unprecedented three-day ceasefire during Eid celebrations in June that was largely respected by both sides.

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.

Also, an investigation was underway to determine how the insurgents managed to infiltrate so deep into the city, barely 120 kilometers (75 miles) south of the Afghan capital of Kabul.

United States forces responded with attack helicopters and a drone strike, according to US Forces Afghanistan spokesman Lt. Col. Martin O'Donnell.

The attack followed a similar assault on Farah in May, when fighters came close to overrunning the city in western Afghanistan.

Taliban fighters hiding inside homes in the city's residential areas slipped into the streets attacking Afghan security forces, provincial police chief Farid Ahmad Mashal told Associated Press. He was anxious more wounded could be out there as the city was shut down and ambulances were not being sent out.

A spokesman for President Ashraf Ghani, Shah Hussain Murtazawi, said that by midday Afghan forces were in full control of the city.

Dozens of bodies of Afghan soldiers have been found in a military base stormed by Taliban militants in the embattled Southern Province of Uruzgan, officials said on Thursday.

The Taliban have so far failed to take and hold any provincial center since they overran the northern city of Kunduz in 2015 before being driven off with the support of US air strikes and Special Forces units.

A second government official said it was too unsafe for people to leave their homes and he had no immediate details on casualties.

The Taliban are fighting the Western-backed government to restore their version of sharia, or Islamic law, after they were driven out by USA -led forces in 2001. Dozens of Afghan soldiers and police had been killed and large quantities of weapons and equipment had been seized, he said.

"It is a show of presence", he said.

Residents who spoke to AFP said power has been cut to the area for hours since fighting erupted, with heavy gunfire ringing out across the city and a government building set on fire.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid issued a statement saying multiple attacks were launched overnight in Ghazni. With the outer defences breached, the insurgents seized control of several districts, advancing to within a few hundred metres of the governor's office and police headquarters. US and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces remain in Afghanistan mainly in a supporting and training role.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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