Afghan army in control of Ghazni city, claim officials

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Afghan army in control of Ghazni city, claim officials

KABUL: Security forces were in control of the eastern Afghan city of Ghazni on Saturday, officials said, more than a day after Taliban fighters launched a major onslaught on the provincial capital, as reinforcements continued a clearance operation targeting the militants.
Interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish said fresh reinforcements had arrived in the area and were battling Taliban fighters north of Ghazni, and that the insurgents were in no position to take control of the city.
“The situation is fully under control. The city is not going to fall,” Danish told a press conference after confusion mounted over Ghazni’s fate following hours of official silence.
A spokesman for United States (US) forces in Afghanistan also described the fight for the city as a clearance operation, with sporadic clashes between security forces and insurgents punctuating relative calm.
“The fact remains that the Taliban are unable to seize terrain and unable to match the Afghan security forces or our enablement, retreating once directly and decisively engaged,” Lt. Col. Martin O’Donnell told foreign news agency.
Insurgents entered Ghazni from several directions late on Thursday night, attacking media offices and damaging a telecommunications tower, effectively shutting off mobile service to the city as of Friday afternoon — making information about the fight difficult to verify.
An MP from Ghazni urged caution following Danish’s press conference, saying heavy clashes continued to rage between the two sides.
“Intense fighting is still ongoing in Ghazni city. The prison is under attack from several directions, they are trying to free the prisoners,” said Nafisa Azimi by telephone from Kabul.
“Fear is spreading in Ghazni as the day ends, the Taliban might intensify their attack as it gets dark.”
Danish said at least 25 security forces had died in the fighting along with 150 Taliban fighters. At least one media worker from a local broadcaster was also killed. …Agencies

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