Taliban attack on Afghan city of Ghazni enters third day

Afghan Taliban delegation visits Uzbekistan to discuss peace, security

"It is over and the city is taken", said a man standing outside his home, with several Taliban insurgents nearby.

Mohammad Sharif Yaftali, Afghan army chief of staff, said on Sunday the city was not under threat of collapse and heavy fighting was under way to push back the Taliban from city limits. The government in Kabul insisted that Ghazni was under its control but residents reported fierce clashes in several districts of the city and streets strewn with corpses.

The attack was the largest tactical operation launched by the Taliban since an unprecedented truce in June brought fighting between security forces and the Taliban to a temporary pause.

KABUL: A delegation from the Afghan Taliban met officials in Uzbekistan during a five-day trip to the country last week to discuss issues including transport and power lines and peace in Afghanistan, the movement´s political office said.

The Ghazni attack appears to be a well-orchestrated and high-profile challenge to the government and its US supporters.

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The attack comes as pressure continues on the Taliban to enter peace talks with the Afghan government.

O'Donnell said, however, that "tactically, operationally and strategically, the Taliban achieved nothing with this failed attack".

While little firsthand information was available from the city Sunday and most cellphone communication was cut off, social media showed videos of badly burned and damaged buildings.

"Today we are glad that a large group of our unhappy brothers who fought against the government stopped the war and handed their weapons to government and joined the peace process and by them joining the peace process the security of Badghis will improve", said Qaim.

Officials and residents told news agencies that the insurgents were attacking the police headquarters and other government buildings.

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"Only the governor's office, police headquarters and intelligence agency's compound are in the hands of the government and Taliban are pushing to take them", said Chaman Shah Ehtemadi, a lawmaker from Ghazni.

There were no confirmed reports on casualty numbers, but one Afghan TV channel quoted hospital officials as saying that more than 90 members of the security forces and 13 civilians had been killed, as well as an unknown number of Taliban fighters.

Residents cowered in their homes or attempted to flee the fighting, as skyrocketing inflation hit basic provisions, according to residents and officials.

There are also reports the road outside the city has been mined, making it hard for residents to escape.

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