The Taliban continued to engage in clashes with security forces after launching a major attack in Ghazni City, a provincial capital on the key highway between Kabul and Kandahar, officials said Friday.
The Taliban stormed into the city at around 02:00 am on Friday from different directions to begin clashes with the Afghan security forces in Ghazni province.
Local residents in Ghazni City said that the activities of most of the telecom companies have been halted as Taliban have taken control of most parts of the city.
Following the deteriorated security situation in the city, media reporters were unable to enter the province and cover the incident. The Afghan Journalists Safety Community said that Taliban have burnt the Ghazni branch of state-run media, RTA, and killed one of its technical staff Mohammad Dawood Jan.
According to reports, the U.S. forces launched airstrike to counter the Taliban assault on Ghazni City, where terrified residents cowered in their homes amid explosions and gunfire as security forces try to beat the insurgents back.
The Defense Ministry said that the Taliban launched the attack from Wardak, Zabul, and Paktika provinces. Officials said the Afghan special forces have retaken control of some parts of Ghazni City, and clashes ongoing in west of the city.
“Last night they [the Taliban] launched offensive attacks on Ghazni City from Paktika, Zabul, and Wardak province,” the Defense Ministry Spokesman Mohammad Radmanish said at a joint press conference in Kabul. He said the security and defense forces were prepared for the attack.
Reports suggest, both sides have suffered heavy casualties in the ongoing attack. The Interior Ministry Deputy Spokesman Nustrat Rahimi said that the Taliban paid heavy death toll in the attack. But he did not disclose the exact numbers.
However, the Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid in a statement said that the multiple attacks were launched overnight in Ghazni. Dozens of Afghan soldiers and police had been killed and large quantities of weapons and equipment had been seized, he said.
The attack came amid growing hopes of talks to end the ongoing war in the country and less than two weeks before the Eid al-Adha festival, when the Afghan government had been considering offering a ceasefire.