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Afghan forces battle Taliban in key city for third day

Afghan forces battle Taliban in key city for third day

News of what exactly is happening in Ghazni, a provincial capital on the key road between Kabul and Kandahar, is hard to get after the militants damaged a telecommunications tower.

Mohammad Sharif Yaftali, the Afghan army's chief-of-staff, said the strategic city was not under threat of falling into the militants' hands.

"Strategic locations and centers in the city are under the control of Afghan forces and the Taliban are hiding inside people's homes and shops and resisting", Yaftali told reporters at a news conference in Kabul.

The attack on Ghazni, which controls a vital highway between the capital Kabul and southern Afghanistan, has given the insurgents their highest profile success since they came close to taking the western city of Farah in May.

Afghan forces went from building to building throughout the city, routing any other Taliban forces and expelling them from Ghazni.

According to the US military headquarters in Kabul, US aircraft conducted at least four air raids on Sunday and five more on Saturday, but details of the fighting were unclear as most of the city's telecoms masts were destroyed in recent fighting over recent.

"It is over and the city is taken", said a man standing outside his home, with several Taliban insurgents nearby. It said there had also been heavy Taliban casualties.

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

This comes as the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev had earlier offered to host talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban. Officials had hoped for a second truce later this month during the Eid al-Adha holiday, but that seems unlikely. "The fact remains that the Taliban are unable to seize terrain" and retreat "once directly and decisively engaged".

Short videos circulating on social media, purported to be from Ghazni, showed a number of heavily armed Taliban patrolling in the city with a large plume of smoke and flames coming out from the town.

"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. There were claims that Ghazni's police headquarters had fallen.

More than a hundred Afghan troops are believed to have been killed and Taliban losses...

Some residents fled toward Kabul by traversing rural areas.

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