Second Afghan provincial capital threaten by Taliban as insurgency spreads

Second Afghan provincial capital threaten by Taliban as insurgency spreads

Relatives react outside a hospital morgue after a three-year-old Palestinian girl and her mother were killed after their house was brought down by an Israeli air strike in Gaza early on October 11, 2015. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

Fighting intensified on Monday across the Afghan city, as Taliban militants threatened to capture a second provincial capital after occupying Kunduz last month.

The battles around Ghazni, some 130 km (80 miles) southwest underlined the worsening security situation across Afghanistan, where authorities and national soldiers are struggling to survive now the bulk of foreign powers have pulled away.

Monday’s violence prompted most universities, schools and shops there, and followed days of sporadic fighting near Ghazni.

Many residents attempted to flee to nearby districts or the capital Kabul, adding to an increasing number of internally displaced people within Afghanistan.

Government officials said they had the upper hand.

“The Taliban planned to attack and seize the capital but we were on the alert and repelled them,” he said.

The hardline Islamist militant movement, trying to topple the Western-backed government in Kabul and restore its regime 14 years after being toppled, also said it’d blocked the highway from Kabul.

The Taliban warned motorists to avoid the crucial transport corridor linking the capital to the south, which was reconstructed with the support of Western support. There was no independent verification of the claim to have blocked the route.

On Sunday, a suicide bomber attacked a convoy of foreign troops in Kabul during Sunday morning rush hour.