Heavy fighting is underway in the Afghan provincial capital of Ghazni following an attack by Taliban militants, with gunfire and blasts ringing out across the city and residents told to…
Officials and witnesses said Friday the heavily-armed militants had gained control of parts of the city center, from where they were shelling houses and business areas.
Ghazni in central Afghanistan is a strategic city straddling the main route between the capital Kabul and southern Afghanistan. Clashes started overnight, forcing authorities to close the highway linking it to Kabul, 150 km to the northeast.
The Taliban issued a statement claiming to have captured most of government buildings and that “so far 140 enemy forces have been killed or wounded.”
Provincial governor spokesman Arif Noori said the bodies of dozens of Taliban fighters were in the streets.
Residents said power has been cut to the area since fighting erupted, with the Taliban using loudspeakers at the mosque to warn residents to stay in their homes.
The attack on Ghazni comes in the face of growing pressure on the Taliban to agree to peace talks with the Afghan government to end the 17-year war.