- Taliban militants seized a security post in Ghazni, on the
main road between Kabul and the Afghan south, on Monday.
- The attack killed 13 Afghan security force members and
injured 13 more, a provincial spokesman said.
- The post was one of the government’s strongholds, and was
reinforced after being briefly overrun by the Taliban in August.
GHAZNI, Afghanistan (Reuters) – Taliban militants captured an
important security post outside the central Afghan city of Ghazni
on Monday, killing 13 members of government forces and
underscoring their vulnerability even in areas where defenses
have been bolstered.
The post was part of a belt of strongholds built around Ghazni,
which is on the main road between the capital, Kabul, and the
Afghan south, after the city was briefly overrun by Taliban in
August in one of their biggest offensives in years.
As well as the 13 killed, 13 members of the Western-backed
government’s security forces were wounded in the attack, said
Arif Noori, a spokesman for the provincial governor.
He said the Taliban had suffered heavy casualties but he had no
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement 18
policemen were killed and six wounded and large quantities of
weapons and ammunition were seized.
The attack is only the latest indication of the precarious
security around Ghazni following the big Taliban assault in
August, which shocked the government and was only repelled with
the help of U.S. air strikes and special force troops.
A U.S. watchdog agency said last week the Afghan government was
struggling to recover control of districts lost to the Taliban
while casualties among security forces had reached record levels.
The government had control or influence over 65 percent of the
population but only 55.5 percent of Afghanistan’s 407 districts,
the agency, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan
Reconstruction, said in a report.
The latest phase of Afghanistan’s decades of war began in late
2001, when U.S.-led troops overthrew the Taliban in response to
the Sept. 11 attacks that year on the United States.
(Reporting by Mustafa Andaleeb; Editing by Robert