STREAMING NOW: Watch Now
CLOSINGS: View Closings

Afghan forces confront Taliban militants in Ghazni days after brazen attack

Afghan security forces are engaged in intense fighting with Taliban militants in Ghazni, three days after th...

Posted: Aug 13, 2018 2:13 PM
Updated: Aug 13, 2018 2:13 PM

Afghan security forces are engaged in intense fighting with Taliban militants in Ghazni, three days after the start of an offensive on the strategic city that has so far killed more than 150 people, according to a local member of parliament.

Mohammad Arif Shahjahan, an MP from Ghazni, told CNN Monday Taliban fighters had taken control of key buildings, including the police headquarters and some government offices.

Afghanistan

Afghanistan war

Asia

Conflicts and wars

Continents and regions

International relations and national security

Middle East

Middle East and North Africa

National security

South Asia

Taliban

Terrorism

Terrorism and counter-terrorism

Terrorist attacks

Unrest, conflicts and war

Armed forces

Ghazni

Military

Military operations

Rebellions and insurgencies

North America

The Americas

United States

Many of the dead were security forces, he said, adding that many more had been injured, as fighting continued into its fourth day, despite government and US assurances that the assault had failed.

Taliban militants stormed the strategically important city Friday in an attempt to establish a base within easy access of the capital Kabul to the north, and roads to western and some southern provinces.

The move perhaps the most serious challenge to the government's hold in urban areas since the Taliban briefly occupied the city of Kunduz in 2015, and comes at a time when the Trump administration appears to be accelerating negotiations with an insurgency it has been fighting for 17 years.

According to a tweet from Afghanistan's Interior Ministry Sunday, Ghazni police had started a planned clearance operation in the city, in an attempt to push the militants out.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said on his official Twitter account Sunday that he had chaired an emergency meeting to discuss the situation in Ghazni Province, and it was determined that further back-up was needed.

"After detailed review of the reports, the meeting decided that in order to consolidate operational gains, further reinforcements should be dispatched to the province on urgent basis," Ghani said.

There were reports of sporadic fighting over the weekend, but a spokesman for the Afghan National Army said Saturday the city was "under the complete control of Afghan security forces."

"Afghan National Army reinforcements are making their way to Ghazni city to help the Afghan National Police search and clear the city of insurgents that may still be hiding in the city," said Maj. Mohammad Farooq, an Afghan National Army 203rd Corps spokesman.

Dr. Rik Peeperkorn, the World Health Organization's (WHO) acting humanitarian coordinator for Afghanistan, said in a statement that people have been unable to safely bring casualties to the city's main hospital for treatment.

"Residents of Ghazni City have seen their city turn into a battlefield since Friday morning, with fighting and clashes reportedly still ongoing," said Peeperkorn.

"Parties to the conflict need to ensure that access to medical services is not denied and respect for medical facilities and staff is upheld."

Friday assault

The fighting began at about 1 a.m. on Friday, when hundreds of armed fighters entered Ghazni and captured a number of key sites, according to Zabiullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban.

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

After intense fighting in the city's streets, Afghan and NATO forces were able to push the Taliban to the outskirts of the city Friday afternoon, according to Mohammad Radmanish, a spokesman for the Afghanistan Ministry of Defense.

US Forces Afghanistan called the offensive a "failed attempt" to seize territory.

"Tactically, operationally and strategically, the Taliban achieved nothing with this failed attack except another eye-catching, but inconsequential headline," said LT. Col. Martin O'Donnell, a spokesman for US Forces Afghanistan.

"The fact remains that the Taliban are unable to seize terrain and unable to match the Afghan security forces or our enablement, retreating once directly and decisively engaged."

O'Donnell said Sunday Afghan forces were in control of all government centers in the city.

It's unclear exactly how many people were killed in the fighting.

Ghazni Hospital Director Dr. Baz Mohammad Hemat said the death toll is between 120 and 160 people and includes both military and civilian casualties. Radmanish said more than 150 Taliban fighters were also killed in the battle. Mujahid said 140 Afghan soldiers were killed, though US authorities disputed that figure.

Ambitious attack

The assault on a major population center was one of the group's most ambitious military moves in years, and was further evidence that a violent stalemate between the government and the Taliban persists. In May, the insurgent group briefly overran the western city of Farah, but Ghazni is far more important and the scale of the attack much greater.

If the city fell to the Taliban, it would compromise the security of the capital and the eight provinces it borders.

However, while the Taliban is capable of controlling rural areas, the combination of Afghan troops with US air support has prevented its fighters from taking and holding population centers.

The assault is the latest insurgent attack in the country since the Afghan government unilaterally called off a ceasefire that it had in place for Eid al-Fitr, the holiday marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The Taliban, along with other militant groups such as ISIS, routinely attack military and civilian targets in the country.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 322312

Reported Deaths: 3674
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin679131121
Ramsey28517507
Anoka22841228
Dakota22657192
Washington14370117
Stearns14131117
St. Louis9086112
Scott866755
Wright806644
Olmsted690534
Sherburne608243
Clay514157
Carver492715
Kandiyohi428523
Rice422937
Blue Earth421316
Crow Wing371234
Otter Tail326323
Chisago320413
Nobles311730
Benton308851
Winona288131
Douglas271638
Mower267423
Polk263525
Morrison237829
Lyon224611
Beltrami223518
McLeod221315
Goodhue212328
Becker211616
Steele20227
Itasca197123
Isanti196317
Carlton193516
Todd185214
Nicollet165526
Mille Lacs158831
Freeborn15646
Le Sueur150111
Cass148010
Brown147215
Pine14168
Waseca140611
Meeker135610
Roseau12234
Martin119420
Hubbard117127
Wabasha10871
Redwood99619
Chippewa9347
Renville91329
Cottonwood9084
Dodge8880
Watonwan8714
Wadena8316
Sibley8094
Rock7939
Aitkin78830
Pipestone74318
Houston7344
Fillmore7320
Pennington6698
Yellow Medicine66812
Kanabec65813
Swift6068
Murray6013
Faribault5802
Pope5571
Clearwater5348
Stevens5303
Marshall5149
Jackson5061
Lake4336
Koochiching4056
Wilkin4005
Lac qui Parle3963
Unassigned39559
Lincoln3681
Norman3577
Big Stone3282
Mahnomen3074
Grant2886
Kittson2338
Red Lake2223
Traverse1501
Lake of the Woods1021
Cook780

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 231742

Reported Deaths: 2418
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk34208339
Linn14513166
Scott1153087
Black Hawk11130137
Woodbury10484130
Johnson971337
Dubuque934293
Story689222
Pottawattamie650571
Dallas647657
Sioux375126
Webster369936
Cerro Gordo362548
Marshall354146
Clinton339044
Buena Vista309214
Muscatine296269
Des Moines292021
Warren287314
Plymouth278742
Wapello258572
Jones234417
Jasper226744
Marion208322
Lee207217
Carroll201222
Bremer198412
Henry18707
Crawford179016
Benton172821
Tama156240
Jackson147413
Washington146815
Delaware145621
Dickinson141311
Boone140411
Mahaska131127
Wright12877
Buchanan120910
Clay12004
Hardin118610
Hamilton116510
Page11534
Clayton11328
Cedar111113
Kossuth11027
Harrison110130
Calhoun10887
Floyd108017
Fayette107610
Mills10697
Lyon10578
Butler10466
Poweshiek101013
Winneshiek101013
Iowa98813
Winnebago93824
Cherokee9184
Sac8868
Chickasaw8834
Louisa88318
Hancock8827
Grundy87911
Allamakee85011
Cass82224
Mitchell8115
Appanoose80412
Humboldt7955
Union7886
Shelby78111
Emmet77124
Guthrie76815
Franklin74521
Jefferson7342
Madison7084
Unassigned6960
Palo Alto6594
Keokuk6287
Pocahontas5844
Howard5659
Greene5381
Osceola5381
Ida52313
Clarke4944
Montgomery48611
Davis4779
Taylor4713
Monroe45013
Adair4448
Monona4444
Worth3730
Fremont3693
Van Buren3655
Lucas3356
Decatur3240
Wayne3047
Audubon3012
Ringgold2312
Adams1712
Rochester
Overcast
29° wxIcon
Hi: 41° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 19°
Mason City
Scattered Clouds
28° wxIcon
Hi: 43° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 20°
Albert Lea
Clear
28° wxIcon
Hi: 41° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 21°
Austin
Clear
30° wxIcon
Hi: 42° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 23°
Charles City
Overcast
28° wxIcon
Hi: 42° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 20°
More sunshine heading into the weekend
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Community Events