Dozens of Afghan soldiers killed in attack on base
12 August, 2018, 19:25
Police special forces have been deployed to help block the Taliban advance on the city, an Afghan security official said.
Ghazni police chief General Farid Ahmad Mashal said the Taliban seized several parts of the city, which has been under threat for months, with local officials warning that heavy fighting in surrounding districts showed the city was increasingly vulnerable.
Heavily armed Taliban fighters attacked Ghazni city in central Afghanistan early on Friday, burning police checkpoints, shelling houses and business areas and seizing control of parts of the city, officials said. Speaking by from the city in the early afternoon, he said the government had so far failed to send reinforcements, and that if none arrived by nightfall, the city would fall.
"Attacks were underway on the governor's office, the National Directorate for Security (Afghan intelligence agency) headquarters and other government offices", he said, adding that more than 140 Afghan soldiers were killed.
Officials said clashes between security forces and the Taliban started at around 2.00 a.m., forcing the closure of the main highway linking Ghazni to Kabul, 150 km (95 miles) to the northeast.
"There are Taliban militants in all roads and streets of the city, but they are facing strong resistance from government forces", he said.
"By Wednesday evening, the bodies of 27 soldiers were discovered, but a number of others are still missing, " Barekzai said.
Airstrikes called in to quash the offensive also killed dozens of Taliban, Mashal said. Residents who spoke to AFP said power has been cut to the area since fighting erupted, with heavy gunfire ringing out across the city and a government building set on fire.
People were staying indoors and all shops in the city remained closed, they said. Ghazni is an important artery connecting the capital to the country's southern and western provinces.
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