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Clashes Continue After Taliban Attack On Afghan City Of Ghazni

11 Aug 2018 Gandhara - RFE/RL

Clashes between Afghan government forces and the Taliban continue around the Afghan city of Ghazni on August 11, a day after Taliban militants stormed its center, officials said.

Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish said 25 security forces and a local reporter have been killed since the assault began on Ghazni on August 9.

Danish also said that more than 150 Taliban have been killed in the battles.

He said despite the clashes, "the situation is under control and there isn't any serious threat."

Defense Ministry spokesman Mohammad Radmanesh told RFE/RL’s Radio Free Afghanistan that Ghazni, some 150 kilometers southeast of Kabul, was under complete control of the security forces.But he saidclearance operations were continuing.

A spokesman for U.S. forces in Afghanistan also described the fight for the city as a clearance operation, with sporadic clashes between security forces and insurgents.

"The fact remains that the Taliban are unable to seize terrain and unable to match the Afghan security forces or our enablement, retreating once [they were] directly and decisively engaged," Lieutenant Colonel Martin O'Donnell was quoted as saying on August 11.

The attack on Ghazni was the latest in a series of attempts by the Taliban to capture urban centers.

A U.S.-led coalition drove the Taliban from power after Al-Qaeda militants -- whose leaders were being sheltered in Afghanistan -- carried out the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

But the Western-backed government has been struggling to fend off the Taliban and other militants since the withdrawal of most NATO troops in 2014.

In May, the Taliban attacked the western city of Farah. After a day of intense fighting, Afghan commandos and U.S. air strikes drove the group to the outskirts of the city.

Taliban leaders have ignored an offer by the government of direct peace negotiations.

With reporting by RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan, AP, AFP, dpa, and Reuters

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