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KABUL, Afghanistan, August 17, 2018 (News Wires) - The Afghan president visited the southeastern city of Ghazni on Friday, a week after the Taliban in a surprise attack managed to infiltrate deep into the key provincial capital and capture several areas of it.

Two rockets hit inside the city as President Ashraf Ghani held a meeting with elders at a nearby mosque, witnesses said. A third rocket landed in a nearby river, they said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

There were no injuries and Ghani was never in any danger. No one claimed responsibility for firing the rockets.

The Taliban hung on in Ghazni for nearly five days before US-backed Afghan forces flushed them out in what were some of the fiercest battles with the insurgents in recent months that killed scores of Afghan troops and civilians.

Security was on high alert as Ghani arrived by helicopter in Ghazni, the capital of Ghazni province, just 120 kilometers (75 miles) from the capital, Kabul. Mohammad Khan, the deputy of the country's Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, accompanied Ghani on the trip.


KABUL, August 12, 2018 (Reuters) - Taliban insurgents attacked police headquarters and other government buildings in Ghazni in central Afghanistan on Sunday and were threatening to seize control of the city, with the main highway now heavily mined, local lawmakers and residents said.

U.S. aircraft conducted at least four air strikes but details of the fighting were unclear as most of the city’s telecoms masts were destroyed in fighting over recent days.

But lawmakers from Ghazni who managed to talk to some residents said Taliban were in control of much of the city after launching an initial attack in the early hours of Friday.

“Only the governor’s office, police headquarters and intelligence agency’s compound are in the hands of the government and Taliban are pushing to take them,” said Chaman Shah Ehtemadi, a lawmaker from Ghazni.

The attack on Ghazni, a strategic city on the main highway linking Kabul with Afghanistan’s south, was the most serious blow to the government since the insurgents came close to overrunning the western city of Farah in May.

Mohammad Rahim Hasanyar, a member of the provincial council, said heavy fighting was continuing in several areas of the city and Afghan forces were in defence mode.

“No one knows what the exact situation is because there is no communication service,” he said.

There was no confirmed word on casualties. Quoting a hospital official, Afghanistan’s 1TV television reported more than 90 members of the security forces and 13 civilians had been killed, with more than 100 wounded. It said there had also been heavy Taliban casualties.

With the highway heavily mined to prevent reinforcements from arriving, residents were largely blocked inside but some who managed to escape across fields on the city’s periphery said many government buildings were ablaze.

“There was burning and fire and dead bodies everywhere in the city,” said Abdul Wakil, a local resident who escaped told Reuters at a checkpoint into Kabul.

A senior security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Special Forces units had been sent to push the Taliban back from around the city but many fighters were still inside the centre after going into hiding following their initial assault in the early hours of Friday.

The official said Afghan and U.S. aircraft had carried out strikes outside the city but many fighters were in residential areas, making it difficult for security forces to rely on air support.

U.S. military headquarters in Kabul said sporadic clashes were occurring and American aircraft had conducted five strikes on Saturday and four more on Sunday.

“The Afghan National Defense and Security Forces continue to hold their ground and maintain control of all government centers,” Lt Col Martin O’Donnell, U.S. Forces Afghanistan spokesman, said in an emailed statement.

The attack on Ghazni leaves the future of peace talks with the Taliban uncertain. 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.

KABUL, August 11, 2018 (MENA) - Several Taliban militants have been killed during airstrikes conducted by US forces in southern Helmand province of Afghanistan, Khaama Press news agency reported Saturday.

According to local officials, the latest sorties were carried out against Taliban hideouts in the vicinity of Nahr Siraj district, leaving at least 19 militants dead.

The officials added that several weapons belonging to the militants were also destroyed.

Taliban has not yet commented on the attack.

KABUL, August 10, 2018 (News Wires) - Afghan police said on Friday that more than 100 Taliban militants were killed and wounded after they attacked southern Ghazni province from four directions.

Four security personnel were also killed and several others wounded as the clashes continued for several hours, Ghazni police spokesman Col. Farid Ahmad Mashal told Pajhwok Afghan News.

Earlier, Mashal said Taliban waged attacks at 12:00 am midnight on security posts soon after entering the city from various directions.

The Taliban had called in fighters from central Maidan Wardak and southern Zabul province and they attacked security posts, the police headquarters and other military installations.

KABUL, August 10, 2018 (MENA) - The provincial capital of Ghazni province and all other districts are under total control of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF), the 203rd Thunder Corps Director of Operations Gen. Mohammad Alam Nejrabi said on Friday.

The Taliban militants launched a coordinated attack on Ghazni province in the early hours of Friday as sporadic clashes continue between the Afghan forces and the assailants, Khaama Press news agency reported.

The Afghan National Defense and security Forces have repulsed the attack, inflicting heavy casualties on the militants.

The US Military in Afghanistan said in a short statement that “US Forces responded with close-air support this morning in Ghazni. Afghan forces held their ground and maintained control of all government centers.”

The provincial governor’s spokesman Mohammad Arif Noori said that at least seven security personnel were injured during the attack.



PRAGUE, Czech Republic, August 5, 2018 (News Wires) — The Czech military has confirmed that the three victims of a Taliban suicide attack in Afghanistan were all Czech service members.

It says the attack took place at about 3:50 a.m. (0150 GMT) Sunday near the Bagram military base in the province of Parwan.

The victims have not been identified. A statement from the military says the families of the victims have been informed and Defence Minister Lubomir Metnar has offered his condolences.

The Czechs recently have approved a plan to deploy 390 soldiers in Afghanistan through 2020, up from the current 230, as part of the NATO-led Resolute Support mission.

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