Taliban militants have launched an attack from three directions on parts of the central-eastern Afghan city of Ghazni.
Provincial police chief Aminullah Amerkhil said the overnight attack was the fiercest launched by Taliban militants, who have had a strong presence in the province of Ghazni for years.
Amerkhil said Afghan forces had repelled the raid on the city, which is located on the highway linking the capital Kabul with the southern city of Kandahar.
“The Taliban put all their pressure on Afghan security forces to take control of at least one district but we fought well and pushed them back,” Amerkhil said.
Elsewhere in his remarks, the police official said Taliban had suffered far heavier casualties, with more that two dozen militants killed, while only two members of security forces died during the battle.
Hashim Zwak, the police chief of Waghaz district, who was wounded during the fierce fighting, described how the militants drove a Humvee packed with explosives into the entrance of the district governor’s compound during the assault.
Militants blew it up before other comrades tried to overrun the police defenders, he added.
“They put all their effort into it but they could not defeat us,” Zwak said from a hospital in Ghazni city.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed, however, that the militants had gained control over Waghaz district. Mujahid added that several members of Afghan government forces had been killed and many vehicles destroyed along with ammunition.
Taliban has stepped up its operations and targeted Kunduz, a northern city they have twice managed to seize for brief periods in the past.
In late April, the militant group announced the start of its so-called spring offensive, a heightened campaign of bombings, ambush attacks, and other raids that begins as weather conditions improve.
Taliban increases its attacks across Afghanistan every spring, targeting government officials and US-led foreign forces in the country. Many ordinary people also often fall victim to the attacks.