The five-day siege of the southern Afghan province of Ghazni officially came to an end on Tuesday afternoon. But while Afghan forces had reportedly started clearance operations, unconfirmed reports suggested there were ongoing battles in some districts.
The attack started last Friday, in the provincial capital Ghazni city, less than 150 kilometers from the Afghan capital of Kabul. More than 100 Afghan security forces have been killed, according to General Tareq Shah Bahrami, the Afghan minister of national defense. The casualties also include nearly 30 civilians killed in the crossfire.
Ghazni resident Mohammad Elham, 28, told Asia Times: “The attacks started around midnight and it seemed that the Taliban were coming in from all directions.” Elham was one of many trapped in the city as the fighting raged around them.
While there are no clear figures available, it is believed that more than 1,000 Taliban fighters entered the provincial capital city on Friday. “They first took control of the checkpoints around the city and by 5am they had entered Ghazni city from the west,” Elham said, adding that fierce exchanges of fire and heavy weapons lasted for six hours. “We didn’t sleep that night, or much after that.
“I saw many people mourning in the last few days. A woman in our neighborhood was killed by a missile that hit their house.”
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