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Armed forces advance in Ghazni as Taliban positions shrink

AT-KABUL: The battle to retake Ghazni is drawing to a close as Afghan armed forces advanced on Tuesday against Taliban in most of parts of the beleaguered city and militant positions kept shrinking amid a full-scale counterassault that began the day before, the defense ministry said Tuesday.

Afghan security forces are almost in control of Ghazni as they push on against enemy positions, said the defense ministry spokesperson Jawid Ghafori, affirming the onslaught operation backed by airstrikes will push back the rebels and dismantle their holdouts.

The Taliban staged an onslaught on Ghazni on Thursday night and took partial control of the city. In the past five days, the Taliban have torched different governmental and nongovernmental institutionsand destroyed communication towers.

“Normalcy has returned to some areas in the city and shops have reopened,” he enthused, saying the armed forces would continue with intensity to clear areas where the Taliban still held positions.

The fight went on in the city’s outskirts and government forces held upper hand against the enemy, he insisted, reckoning the death toll of the Taliban stood at 326 and tens of others wounded. He said the ANDSF death toll was 100 including 70 police personnel and 30 army soldiers. Also 30 to 40 civilians had losttheir lives during the clashes in Ghazni city.

Ghazni-Kandahar highway remained close because of the battle in Qarabagh area, he said, pledging that Afghan forces will handle it soon.

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