United States launches airstrikes as Taliban attack Afghan city

United States launches airstrikes as Taliban attack Afghan city

United States launches airstrikes as Taliban attack Afghan city

There were conflicting reports from residents and local officials, however, with some reporting that Taliban fighters were still roaming parts of the city and that gunfire continued throughout the day, while frightened residents hid in their homes.

"We are scared for our life. We are terrified", Yasan wrote in a Facebook post.

Officials said clashes between security forces and the Taliban started at around 2.00 a.m., forcing the closure of the main highway linking Ghazni to Kabul, 150 km (95 miles) to the northeast. Ghazni has been under threat from Taliban fighters for months. He was anxious more wounded could be out there as the city was shut down and ambulances were not being sent out.

At least one Afghan soldier has been killed and seven others wounded in the fighting in the southeastern city of Ghazni, provincial governor spokesman Arif Noori told AFP on Friday.

Lt. Col. Martin O'Donnell, a spokesman for USA forces in Afghanistan, said American forces and US attack helicopters flew in overnight. After a day of intense fighting, Afghan commandos and USA air strikes drove the group to the outskirts of the city.

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Defense Ministry spokesman Mohammad Radmanish said the army had helped the police and that the city was brought under control of government forces.

"U.S. Forces responded with close-air support this morning in #Ghazni", the official account for US Forces in Afghanistan tweeted Friday.

Votel said he wants to look at minimizing vulnerabilities to Afghan forces, and especially wants to look at employment of high-end Afghan special operations forces and ensuring those forces are used correctly and not overused.

The attack comes as pressure continues on the Taliban to enter peace talks with the Afghan government.

The Taliban frequently exaggerate their battlefield gains and downplay losses incurred during fighting.

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They came close to repeating the feat in 2016, and in May this year they almost overran the western city of Farah before being beaten back with the aid of US forces.

He said China has always supported the issue of peace talks and that they "continue to facilitate the talks based on the principle of (it being) Afghan-led and Afghan-owned".

It has so far ignored President Ashraf Ghani's offer of unconditional peace negotiations. USA and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces remain in Afghanistan mainly in a supporting and training role in the 17-year-old war.

A statement from US military headquarters in Kabul said fighting had ceased by 8.00 a.m. (0330 GMT) and Afghan forces had held their ground and maintained control of all government centers.

Last month Taliban representatives met United States officials for talks in Qatar.

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Anticipation has also been mounting about the possibility of a government ceasefire announcement for the Islamic holiday of Eid-al Adha later this month.

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