Tuesday, 13 November 2018

US launches airstrikes as Taliban try to take Afghan city, kill at least 16

KABUL: Taliban fighters tried to overrun a provincial capital in Afghanistan early on Friday, hiding inside homes before slipping into city streets in the night to attack security forces and killing at least 14 policemen before being pushed back, officials said.

The overnight attack in the southeastern city of Ghazni, the capital of a province with the same name, also wounded at least 20 members of the security forces, said Baz Mohammad Hemat, the administrator of the Ghazni city hospital.

Another Taliban attack, this one on Thursday night in western Herat province, left six policemen dead in the district of Obe, according to the governor’s spokesman there, Gelani Farhad.

The brazen assaults by the Taliban, who have been gaining more ground in their annual spring offensive and who have shrugged off the government’s latest offers of a cease-fire and negotiations, underscore the difficulties Afghan forces face in battling the relentless insurgency on their own in efforts to end the nearly 17-year war.

In Ghazni, the attack began around 2 a.m. with intense gunbattles raging and fires burning in several shops in the city’s residential areas, provincial police chief Farid Ahmad Mashal told The Associated Press.

After repulsing the daring assault, police conducted house-to-house searches for any remaining Taliban fighters. An investigation was also underway on how the insurgents had managed to infiltrate so deep into the city, barely 120 kilometers (75 miles) south of the Afghan capital of Kabul.

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