Taliban launches brazen attack on strategic Afghan city of Ghazni

The Taliban launched a brazen attack on the strategic Afghan city of Ghazni, south of the capital Kabul, ear...

Posted: Aug 10, 2018 4:05 PM
Updated: Aug 10, 2018 4:05 PM

The Taliban launched a brazen attack on the strategic Afghan city of Ghazni, south of the capital Kabul, early on Friday, seizing key buildings and trading fire with security forces.

Afghan soldiers fought back as the heavily armed militants converged from four sides of the province. At least 16 people were killed and 40 injured, the majority of them Afghan security forces, Ghazni public health director Zahir Shah Nikmall told CNN.

Afghanistan

Afghanistan war

Asia

Conflicts and wars

Continents and regions

Ghazni

International relations and national security

Middle East

Middle East and North Africa

National security

South Asia

Taliban

Terrorism

Terrorism and counter-terrorism

Terrorist attacks

Unrest, conflicts and war

Kabul

Bombings

Military

Military operations

Armed forces

North America

The Americas

United States

United States forces responded to the assault with attack helicopters and a drone strike, according to US Forces Afghanistan spokesman Lt. Col. Martin O'Donnell.

Heavy fighting was continuing as of Friday afternoon in the city, where Afghan and NATO forces were engaging fighters "by air and ground," Ghazni government spokesman Mohammad Arif Noori told CNN.

Mohammad Radmanish, spokesman for the Ministry of Defense, said that the Taliban had been pushed back to the outskirts of the city.

He estimated that more than 150 Taliban fighters have been killed or wounded.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said in a statement that hundreds of fighters armed with heavy and light weapons entered Ghazni at around 1 a.m., capturing a number of strategic sites within the city and killing more than 140 Afghan soldiers. The US disputed that figure, saying initial reports indicated there were "minimal Afghan security force casualties."

In a tweet, US Forces Afghanistan called the attack a "failed attempt" to seize territory "while creating strategically inconsequential headlines."

An ambitious assault on a key city

Ghazni, the capital of the province of the same name, is less than 100 miles south of Kabul. It lies on the Kabul-Kandahar highway, an important artery connecting the capital to the country's southern provinces and some of its western ones.

The assault on a major population center was one of the group's most ambitious military moves in years, and was further evidence that a violent stalemate between the government and the Taliban persists. In May, the inisurgent group briefly overran the western city of Farah, but Ghazni is far more important and the scale of the attack much greater.

If the city fell to the Taliban, it would compromise the security of the capital and the eight provinces it borders.

However, while the Taliban is capable of controlling rural areas, the combination of Afghan troops with US air support has prevented its fighters from taking and holding population centers.

Friday's assault could imperil any chances of a potential ceasefire between the government and the extremist group for the Eid al-Adha festival in less than two weeks.

Ongoing violence

The assault is the latest insurgent attack in the country since the Afghan government unilaterally called off a ceasefire that it had in place for Eid al-Fitr, the holiday marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The Taliban, along with other militant groups such as ISIS, routinely attack military and civilian targets in the country.

At least seven people were killed and more than 15 were wounded in Kabul in a suicide attack at a ministry in early June, and a further 14 people were killed and 60 injured in a suicide bomb attack near Hamid Karzai International Airport outside the capital in late July. ISIS claimed responsibility for that attack.

The continuing violence comes amid the release of a UN report stating the number of Afghan civilians killed in the first six months of this year has reached a record high.

Almost 1,700 civilians were killed from January 1 to June 30, a total higher than any comparable time over the past 10 years, according to the UN.

Late last month, American diplomats met face-to-face with Taliban representatives in Qatar to discuss laying the groundwork for peace talks, according to The Wall Street Journal.

US diplomats met with Taliban representatives in Qatar without Afghan government officials present, the New York Times said, citing two senior Taliban officials.

The State Department did not confirm or deny the talks, which would be a reversal of a longstanding policy and strategy toward the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Opinion: Reasons for hope amid Afghanistan's endless war

West Lafayette
Few Clouds
91° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 94°
Kokomo
Few Clouds
83° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 87°
Rensselaer
Clear
86° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 89°
Fowler
Clear
86° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 89°
Williamsport
Clear
88° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 92°
Crawfordsville
Clear
85° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 88°
Frankfort
Broken Clouds
87° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 92°
Delphi
Clear
88° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 90°
Monticello
Clear
88° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 90°
Logansport
Broken Clouds
84° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 87°
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 46915

Reported Deaths: 2681
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11499683
Lake5053242
Elkhart316443
Allen2717128
St. Joseph186366
Cass16369
Hamilton1518100
Hendricks1386100
Johnson1254118
Porter71237
Tippecanoe6778
Madison64864
Clark63844
Bartholomew58244
Howard56057
LaPorte55326
Kosciusko5124
Vanderburgh4806
Jackson4653
LaGrange4657
Noble45728
Hancock43735
Boone43443
Delaware42949
Marshall4273
Shelby42025
Floyd37144
Morgan32531
Montgomery29320
Grant29026
Clinton2852
Monroe26628
Dubois2646
White26010
Decatur24832
Henry24315
Lawrence23624
Vigo2288
Dearborn22723
Harrison21022
Warrick21029
Greene18432
Miami1812
Jennings17111
Putnam1688
Scott1607
DeKalb1594
Daviess14116
Orange13523
Wayne1346
Perry1279
Steuben1262
Franklin1248
Jasper1142
Ripley1147
Carroll1102
Wabash1102
Fayette987
Newton9710
Whitley884
Starke853
Randolph784
Huntington712
Wells711
Jefferson701
Fulton681
Jay680
Washington661
Knox630
Pulaski621
Clay604
Gibson592
Rush563
Adams481
Benton480
Owen471
Sullivan441
Brown381
Blackford372
Posey360
Spencer351
Fountain302
Tipton301
Crawford290
Switzerland260
Martin220
Parke220
Ohio140
Warren141
Union130
Vermillion130
Pike90
Unassigned0193

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events