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Rebels storm Ghazni, face ANDSF fierce retaliation

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AT-KABUL: In a coordinated attack on southern Ghazni city, the Taliban suffered heavy casualties as more than 150 militants were killed and wounded after security forces countered the assault and repelled the rebels, police said on Friday.

As clashes ensued for several hours, four security personnel were killed and several others wounded, Ghazni police spokesman Col. Farid Ahmad Mashal said. The Taliban waged midnight attacks on security posts soon after storming Ghazni from four corners, he said.

The Taliban had called in fighters from central Maidan Wardak and southern Zabul province and they attacked security posts, the police headquarters and other military installations.

The attackers were pushed back after a few hours but they were still holding up in shops and civilian homes, said Mashal.

However, an official at the civil hospital in Ghazni City, Dr. Noorullah, confirmed receiving eight dead bodies of police personnel and 17 injured people including civilians at the hospital.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Defense said the Taliban attack on Ghazni City had been pushed back, with the attackers sustaining heavy casualties.

In a statement, the MoD said so far as many as 150 Taliban attackers had suffered casualties in the Ghazni clashes. It said some bodies of the rebels remained at the battleground.

The Ghazni police spokesman said they had prior information about the Taliban attacks and therefore measures had already been taken to push them back. Coming operations in the city would be launched soon.

Last night, the Taliban announced closing the Kabul-Kandahar highway.

Safiullah, a resident of Ghazni City, said the Taliban assailants climbed a marketplace soon after entering the city and started attacking the police headquarters from there.

He said the Taliban wanted to capture the police compound, but they could not succeed and were pushed back.

The residents said airstrikes also targeted Taliban’s positions.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahdi claimed the fighters had captured the police headquarters among several key military installations and posts, killing dozens of security forces.

He said no civilian had suffered casualty in firing by the fighters.