Afghan forces now in control of Ghazni, say officials

Afghanistan Taliban resume deadly assaults in Ghazni

Afghan forces launched a clearing operation today, searching for Taliban fighters following a major assault on the southeastern city of Ghazni, after USA air strikes targeted insurgents trying to overrun the city.

Afghan security forces keep watch at a checkpoint on the Ghazni highway, in Maidan Shar, the capital of Wardak province, Afghanistan August 12, 2018. US air support was also used to help Afghan troops retake Farah. The fall of Ghazni, which is the capital of the province of the same name, would be an important victory for the Taliban, cutting Highway One, a key route linking Kabul to the southern provinces, the insurgents' traditional heartland.

"High profile talks by foreign governments with the Taliban that exclude the Afghan government risk providing too much legitimacy to the Taliban without getting much in return", Wilder said.

"Only the governor's office, police headquarters and intelligence agency's compound are in the hands of the government and Taleban are pushing to take them", said Chaman Shah Ehtemadi, a lawmaker from Ghazni.

The Taliban launched a major attack on Afghanistan's Ghazni city on Friday.

Mobile services in the city remained down after militants damaged a telecommunication tower and targeted several media offices in Ghazni, making information hard to verify.

The army chief said the security forces are conducting full-scale clearance operations to eliminate militants from the city.

"The situation is very dire at the moment", he said.

A spokesman for President Ashraf Ghani said the Taliban had suffered heavy casualties in the onslaught and confirmed the airstrikes.

Unconfirmed reports said both sides suffered heavy casualties, with Aghanistan's 1TV reporting more than 90 government forces had been killed along with 13 civilians, and more than 100 wounded.

Taliban representatives have met US officials to talk about the framework for possible peace talks and the Western-backed government is considering offering a second ceasefire during the Eid al-Adha holiday later this month.

It had supplied body bags to the provincial hospital and was ready to provide more assistance.

Still, the meetings are significant, coming as the Taliban are ramping up pressure on Afghan security forces with relentless and deadly attacks.

Nearby residents said that numerous prisoners were militants who were quickly armed by their comrades before joining the battle.

Representatives from Afghanistan's Taliban militant group have held talks with senior officials in Uzbekistan, reportedly discussing a range of issues including transport, power lines, and the prospect of peace in war-torn Afghanistan.

United States military headquarters in Kabul said sporadic clashes were occurring and American aircraft had conducted five strikes on Saturday and four more on Sunday.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed parts of Ghazni had been seized and scores of people killed.

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