The attack by an estimated 700 Taliban fighters began about five days ago and early reports were that more than 100 people had been killed, including 15 who were beheaded by the militants
Hundreds of Taliban fighters stormed a strategic district in an Afghan province not far from the capital, killing dozens of people in five days of fighting, and the insurgents could capture the area, officials said yesterday.
The Ghazni provincial government has lost contact with police in the province’s western district of Ajrestan, said Asadullah Safi, deputy police chief of the area.
Ghazni is located southwest of the capital Kabul and is a key link to the south and southeast, where the Taliban have been making advances in recent months.
“If there is no urgent help from the central government, the district will collapse,” Safi said.
The battle for Ajrestan illustrates the grave challenges facing Afghanistan’s new president and the security forces in holding territory as foreign combat troops prepare to leave at the end of the year.
Control of Ajrestan, about 200km from Kabul, will provide the Taliban with a launching point for attacks into adjacent Uruzgan and Daikundi provinces.
Safi said heavy fighting took place in Ajrestan yesterday, and a suicide car bomber attacked a police checkpoint early in the day before provincial authorities completely lost contact with the district.
The attack by an estimated 700 Taliban fighters began about five days ago and early reports were that more than 100 people had been killed, including 15 who were beheaded by the militants, said provincial deputy governor Ahmadullah Ahmadi.
Provincial authorities have appealed for help from the central government in Kabul, where President-elect Ashraf Ghani is in the process of taking over from Hamid Karzai.
“We have asked repeatedly for helicopters to evacuate the wounded, but so far nothing has been done,” Ahmadi said.
However, a regional spokesman for the Afghan army, Nazif Sultani, yesterday said reinforcements had been sent to the district the previous day.
Source: Dhaka Tribune