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Taliban Launch Major Attack On Afghan City, Casualties

Taliban Launch Major Attack On Afghan City, Casualties

Taliban has said in a statement that the group has stormed Ghazni City from different sides.

Ghazni is a gateway city linking the heavily Taliban-influenced south and east of Afghanistan to Kabul and is one of the last vestiges of government control in the province of the same name.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defense Gen. Mohammad Radmanish said the attack was carried out jointly by the militants from Maidan Wardak, Paktia, and Zabul provinces. So far two civilians were wounded, but Hemat said the city was shut down and ambulances were not being sent out.

A local hospital said at least 14 Afghan policemen had been killed in the fighting, while security officials said there were dozens of dead Taliban fighters. Forces-Afghanistan, which oversees American troops in the country, confirmed the attack via Twitter, calling it a "failed attempt" to capture territory. U.S.

"US forces responded with close-air support and conducted one drone strike", O'Donnell said.

Chinese ambassador to Afghanistan Liu Jinsong said on Wednesday the level of distrust between the Afghan government and the Taliban is a key obstacle in the way of achieving peace in the country and that this issue has created serious challenges.

The brazen assaults by the Taliban, who have been gaining more ground in their annual spring offensive and who have shrugged off the government's latest offers of a cease-fire and negotiations, underscore the difficulties Afghan forces face in battling the relentless insurgency on their own in efforts to end the almost 17-year war.

Sporadic gunfire continued to echo, with officials telling residents to stay in their homes as Taliban fighters continued to roam the streets.

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The attack on Ghazni comes as the Taliban faces growing pressure to agree to peace talks with the Afghan government to end the 17-year war.

Taliban leaders have ignored an offer by the government of direct peace negotiations.

Pompeo also said the role of foreign forces in Afghanistan would be on the table.

The Taliban have stepped up attacks across the country since North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the United States formally ended their combat mission in 2014.

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

While he said such a move is probably not imminent, "a few more headlines that show "his generals" are "failing" in Afghanistan could produce some personnel moves, and then a policy shift".

The attack was the second on an Afghan city this year. Islamabad had acted as a broker for the Taliban, helping to set up negotiations with both China and the United States, the Financial Times reported.

This article was written by Amir Shah and Kathy Gannon from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.