Taliban attack strategic Afghan city of Ghazni

Taliban attack strategic Afghan city of Ghazni

The Taliban have launched a major night-time assault on the Afghan city of Ghazni, a provincial capital on the key highway between Kabul and Kandahar. The militants took control of parts of the city before being pushed back to the outskirts, officials said. At least 16 people have died and 40 have been taken to hospital, Ghazni's health director said. He said most were security forces personnel.

But the government says it has killed or injured scores of militants. The number of casualties is expected to rise as many houses were destroyed. Late on Friday morning, sporadic gunfire could still be heard in the city, where Afghan special forces have been deployed.

The assault marks the fourth time that the Taliban have entered a provincial city in recent years. The militant group earlier said that hundreds of fighters had been involved and that government buildings, including the police headquarters, had been captured.

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