News Alerts

15 Aug 2018 | 03:52 AM UTC

Afghanistan: Taliban militants retreat from Ghazni August 14 /update 5

Afghanistan News Alert

Taliban militants withdraw from Ghazni (Ghazni province) August 14 following assault which left over 300 Afghan government and Taliban fighters dead since August 10; Additional fighting reported in surrounding districts

TIMEFRAME expected from 8/14/2018, 12:00 AM until 8/17/2018, 11:59 PM (Asia/Kabul). COUNTRY/REGION Ghazni

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Event

Taliban militants largely retreated from the city of Ghazni (Ghazni province) on Tuesday, August 14, after several days of heavy clashes with the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) left hundreds of people dead. Resolute Support spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Martin O’Donnell said on Tuesday afternoon (local time) that “no enemy activity” had been reported in Ghazni on Tuesday, after ANSF and allied forces broke through Taliban roadblocks on the Kabul-Ghazni highway near Saydabad and entered Ghazni city. However, reports on Tuesday claimed that Taliban fighters were continuing to launch attacks on Afghan reinforcement convoys on the Kabul-Ghazni highway and near Saydabad. Surrounding roads continue to be contested, making travel in or out of Ghazni extremely dangerous and effectively impossible.

The United Nations acting humanitarian coordinator in Kabul has warned that the humanitarian situation in Ghazni has become increasingly dire, with food and water supplies running critically low. Medical supplies are also scarce. Telecommunications networks and electricity remain cut, with Taliban militants transmitting their own radio broadcasts. The death toll currently stands at over 300, including dozens of ANSF personnel and Taliban fighters, as well as some civilians.

Meanwhile, Taliban forces have gained control over much of Ghazni province's rural districts, with reporting on Monday, August 13, indicating that only two of the region's 18 districts are confirmed to remain in government hands. Taliban fighters have notably taken control of Dih Yak, Ajristan, and Khwaja Omari districts in recent days. Additional Taliban attacks are possible in Ghazni province and elsewhere in the country in the coming weeks.

Context

Taliban militants launched an attack on Ghazni on Friday, August 10, taking control of several parts of the city amid heavy clashes with Afghan security forces (backed by US air support). Ghazni is the second major Afghan city to be attacked this year, following a May 2018 assault on Farah. The Taliban also previously assaulted Kunduz in 2015 and 2016.

Taliban militants have advanced near Ghazni in recent months, threatening the city by clashing with security forces in adjacent areas. Ghazni is situated on the Ring Road, the overland route that links Kabul to Kandahar, the country's second-largest city.

Advice

Individuals in Afghanistan are advised to avoid the Ghazni city area and to monitor developments to the situation.

The security environment in Afghanistan remains complex. Although travel is possible in some areas, other areas should be considered strictly off-limits. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel.

 

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