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Afghan army makes significant gains against Taliban in Ghazni

15 August, 2018, 22:25 | Author: Lucille Rivera
  • A U.S. Special Operations soldier returns fire while conducting multi-day Afghan-led offensive operations against the Taliban in Mohammad Agha district Logar Province Afghanistan

Officials later said all indications were that there was only one bomber.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid denied that insurgents had been driven from Ghazni and said the Taliban destroyed a telecommunications tower on the city's outskirts during the initial assault, cutting off landline and cellphone links to the city, the AP reported.

Afghanistan's president has condemned the suicide bombing in Kabul that targeted Shiite students studying for university entrance exams, killing 48.

He says that in past two years, there were at least 13 attacks on the Shiite community in Kabul alone.

Around 100 members of the security forces have died, officials said, and there are fears at least as many civilians have also been killed. The terror group has targeted Shia areas many times before but has not yet claimed responsibilty.

"We can confirm the attack was caused by a suicide bomber on foot".

Abdul Hai Nemati, the governor of Baghlan, said at least nine security forces are still missing and four others were wounded in the attack.

With parliamentary elections due on October 20, the government had been bracing for more attacks in Kabul and other cities, even while hopes of peace talks with the Taliban had been fuelled by a three day truce during the Eid al-Fitr holiday in June.

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Afghanistan has been reeling from a recent upsurge in militant violence, including a days-long Taliban assault on the eastern city of Ghazni.

The United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation have launched airstrikes and sent military advisers to aid Afghan forces as they fight for the city, just 120 kilometres from the Afghan capital with a population of some 270,000 people.

Analysts have said the Ghazni assault on was a military and psychological victory for the Taliban, proving the insurgents had the strength to strike a strategically vital city near the capital at will and remain entrenched there for days.

Elsewhere in Afghanistan, the Taliban attacked a police checkpoint in the southern Zabul province early Wednesday, killing four police, according to the provincial police chief, Mustafa Mayar, who said another three officers were wounded.

The attack came as the situation in the embattled central city of Ghazni eased after the Taliban said they had ordered forces out after five days of fighting that killed and wounded hundreds and left the city a burned-out wreck.

Afghan security forces have taken significant losses since US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation combat forces pulled out of the country at the end of 2014. The assault on Ghazni was widely seen as a show of force ahead of possible peace talks with the United States, which has been at war in Afghanistan for almost 17 years. Zwak said that the victims were girls, aged 10-12, who were gathering firewood.

In recent months, the Taliban have seized several districts across Afghanistan, staging near-daily attacks on security forces, but they have been unable to capture and hold urban areas.

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