Near 100 Afghan soldiers killed as Taliban take control of provincial headquarters

Near 100 Afghan soldiers killed as Taliban take control of provincial headquarters
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KABUL - Taliban insurgents attacked police headquarters and other government buildings in Ghazni in central Afghanistan on Sunday, killing dozens of soldiers and police and threatening to seize control of the city, officials and residents said.

US aircraft conducted at least four air strikes but details of the fighting were unclear as most of the city`s telecoms masts were destroyed in fighting over recent days.

A senior official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said around 80 members of the security forces, as well as an unknown number of civilians had been killed.

Mohammad Sharif Yaftali, Afghan army chief of staff, said the city was not under threat of collapse and heavy fighting was underway to push back the Taliban from the city limits.

"Strategic locations and centres in the city are under the control of Afghan forces and the Taliban are hiding inside people`s homes and shops and resisting," Yaftali told reporters at a news conference in Kabul.

But lawmakers from Ghazni who managed to talk to some residents said the Taliban were in control of much of the city after launching an initial attack in the early hours of Friday.

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