Intense fighting in Afghan city Ghazni as Taleban press their offensive

Intense fighting as Taliban presses to take Afghan city

Ghazni resident Rahmatullah Andar described similar scenes in an interview with broadcaster Tolonews, saying fighting continued to rage in large swathes of the city and outlying districts.

The Taliban, fighting to topple the Western-backed government and drive out global forces, have generally refrained from sabotaging vital infrastructure and have sought to reassure neighbouring countries about their aims. Afghan forces went from building to building throughout the city, routing any other Taliban forces and expelling them from Ghazni.

Yes and a lot of people say the Ghazni offensive and also by the way, there are three other major offensives going on now by the Taliban that have killed about as many people as have been killed in Ghazni in just the last couple days.

The Paktia convoy is not however the only convoy on its way to Ghazni.

The Taliban wants US and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces to leave Afghanistan before participating in any intra-Afghan peace talks.

With no clear channels of communication open with officials in Ghazni, social media has on Sunday carried countless reports of the perceived situation.

Army reinforcements were slow to arrive because the highway into the city was heavily mined by the militants.

But the Taliban appeared to have seized large parts of the city and held them despite a blistering assault by Afghan troops backed by US helicopter gunships, fighter jets and drones.

The Taliban's four-day trip to Uzbekistan, which ended Friday, was the strongest sign yet of the group's growing regional clout, while the Ghazni assault has highlighted its military prowess.

Lt. Col. Martin L. O'Donnell, the spokesman for USA forces in Afghanistan was quoted by TOLOnews as saying, "US forces responded (to the attack) with close-air support (US attack helicopters) and conducted one strike (drone).

Defence ministry officials said Ghazni was under complete control of the security forces.

O'Donnell also said "tactically, operationally and strategically, the Taliban achieved nothing with this failed attack except another eye-catching, but inconsequential headline".

The Afghan National Army's 203 Corps spokesman Maj.

"Afghan forces held their ground and maintain control of all govt. centers".

The Taliban, meanwhile, claimed in a statement that they have gained control of most of the city. The fighting severely damaged Ghazni's historic neighbourhoods and cultural treasures, Bahrami said, adding that he believes the next 24 hours would turn the tide in the battle.

The Taliban conducted an all-out assault on Ghazni, the capital of the Ghazni province on Friday.

Insecurity recently increased dramatically in Ghazni province, which led to the Independent Election Commission delaying parliamentary elections in the province.

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