Army Chief of Staff to control Ghazni situation
KABUL: Afghanistan’s Army Chief of Staff Mohammad Sharif Yaftali will arrive in Ghazni province on Sunday in order to take control of the ongoing battle by the Taliban for control of the provincial capital. Clashes broke out when hundreds of Taliban fighters stormed Ghazni city.
According to military officials from 203 Tander Military Corps the clashes are still ongoing in and around the city and the Taliban has reportedly set fire to the IEC’s offices. Unconfirmed reports are also coming in that dozens of civilians have been wounded in the battle – while many more have fled to Kabul city. At 11.30am local time a Ghazni-based journalist said heavy clashes had just broken out in PD2 of Ghazni city.
Government officials say that all key government buildings are still under government control, including the governor’s compound, and the NDS and Police headquarters. However, the provincial IEC chief told TOLOnews at about 11am that the Independent Election Commission’s offices in the city were on fire after being torched by the Taliban.
Communication lines have been mostly down for the past two days. Military officials have confirmed that a large number of Taliban fighters had been hiding in civilian homes in the city ahead of the initial attack on Thursday night. According to them, fighters stormed the city from the Khoghyani district but had reinforcements already inside the city.
Afghan media reporter Abdulhaq Omeri on Sunday said military officials confirmed foreign troops had arrived in neighboring Gardez, in Paktia, to provide assistance and air support to the Afghan troops on the ground. Taliban stormed Ghazni City – 148 kilometers southwest of Kabul – at around 1am Kabul time. Insecurity has recently increased in Ghazni province. The increasing insecurity has resulted in a decision by the Independent Election Commission to delay the upcoming parliamentary election in the province.