World News

Taliban fighters storm Afghan city before being repelled

Taliban fighters storm Afghan city before being repelled

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Defense said the Taliban attack on Ghazni City had been pushed back, with the attackers sustaining heavy casualties.

The city was in lockdown and fighting continued throughout the day Friday, with sporadic bursts of gunfire from Taliban fighters who had hunkered down in elevated positions inside Ghazni from which they were shooting, some residents said, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear for their safety.

USA forces launched airstrikes on Friday to counter a major Taliban assault on an Afghan provincial capital, where terrified residents cowered in their homes amid explosions and gunfire as security forces fought to beat the insurgents back.

According to the officials, at least 26 security personnel are among those wounded during the clashes.

At least 14 security forces were killed and 20 wounded in the battle, said Baz Mohammad Hemat, administrator of the Ghazni city hospital.

Local residents said Taliban fighters were walking openly in the streets in parts of the city.

The base was back under control of security forces, said Radmanish but the attack has caused significant damage and weapons losses.

U.S. Forces Afghanistan spokesman Lt. Col. Martin O'Donnell said U.S. forces responded using attack helicopters and drones.

Chinese ambassador to Afghanistan Liu Jinsong said on Wednesday the level of distrust between the Afghan government and the Taliban is a key obstacle in the way of achieving peace in the country and that this issue has created serious challenges.

More news: White House says Omarosa claim of Trump racism is ‘false’

An unprecedented truce in June brought fighting between security forces and the Taliban to a temporary halt, giving war-weary Afghans some welcome relief from violence.

"The Taliban are dropping missiles near residential and commercial areas". Ghazni has been under threat from Taliban fighters for months.

The attack came amid growing hopes of talks to end 17 years of war in Afghanistan and less than two weeks before the Eid al-Adha festival, when the Western-backed government in Kabul had been considering offering a ceasefire.

Just last week, an attack on an army post in Uruzgan, a province bordering Ghazni, killed dozens of soldiers, adding to what one USA report called the "shockingly high" casualties taken ever since North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ended its main combat mission in 2014. Washington has repeatedly refused, saying negotiations must be Afghan-led.

Pompeo also said the role of foreign forces in Afghanistan would be on the table.

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

"His most likely move would be to revert to his earlier preference to more or less pull out of Afghanistan, leaving only a bare-bones counterterror presence, possibly secured by contractors", Markey added.

Separately from the Taliban, an Islamic State affiliate carried out dozens of deadly attacks in recent years, mainly targeting security forces and minority Shiites. Associated Press writer Maamoun Youssef in Cairo contributed.