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Taliban launch major attack on Afghan city: officials

GHAZNI: Taliban militants have launched an attack on an Afghan provincial capital and heavy fighting is under way as security forces try to beat them back, with terrified residents cowering in their homes amid explosions and gunfire.
At least one Afghan soldier has been killed and seven others wounded in the fighting in the southeastern city of Ghazni, provincial governor spokesperson Arif Noori said on Friday.
Civilian houses and army checkpoints have come under mortar attack and the bodies of dozens of Taliban fighters are in the streets, he added. The Taliban began the attack late Thursday from several positions around the city, provincial police chief Farid Ahmad Mashal said.
Residents who spoke to media said power has been cut to the area for hours since fighting erupted, with heavy gunfire ringing out across the city and a government building set on fire.
“We are scared for our life. The Taliban are roaming everywhere in and around the city,” shopkeeper Mohammad Haleem told media.
Another resident, Yasan, said the Taliban were using loudspeakers at the mosque to warn residents to stay in their homes. “Heavy explosions and gunfire can be heard. We are terrified,” Yasan wrote in a Facebook post.
Police special forces have been deployed to help block the Taliban advance on the city, an Afghan security official said.
The Taliban issued a statement claiming to have captured “most of government buildings inside the city”. “So far 140 enemy forces have been killed or wounded,” the group said.

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