Prime News, International (Kabul), August 12:_ The Taliban have reportedly captured the city of Ghazni located just 150 km (95 miles) from Afghanistan’s capital Kabul. News agency AFP quoted a senior lawmaker as saying that the Taliban now control all the important installations in Ghazni, including the governor’s office.
“The Taliban took control of the key areas of the city- the governor’s office, the police headquarters and the prison,” AFP reported quoting Nasir Ahmad Faqiri, head of the provincial council.
Faqiri said that fighting between the insurgents and government forces was continuing in the region, however, a major part of the city had fallen in the insurgents’ hands.
The fall of the strategically important city came just hours after the Taliban captured a police headquarters on Thursday in a provincial capital in southern Afghanistan.
Fighting raged in Lashkar Gah, one of Afghanistan’s largest cities in the Taliban heartland of Helmand province, where surrounded government forces hoped to hold onto the capital after the militants’ weeklong blitz has seen them already seized nine others around the country, news agency AP reported.
Afghan security forces and the government have not responded to repeated requests for comment over the days of fighting. However, President Ashraf Ghani is trying to rally a counteroffensive relying on his country’s special forces, the militias of warlords and American airpower ahead of the US and NATO withdrawal at the end of the month.
While the capital of Kabul itself has not been directly threatened in the advance, the stunning speed of the offensive raises questions of how long the Afghan government can maintain control of the slivers of the country it has left. (MR, Inputs: Agencies).