U.S. forces launched airstrikes Friday to counter a major Taliban assault on an Afghan provincial capital, where terrified residents cowered in their homes amid explosions and gunfire as security forces fought to beat the insurgents back.
Insurgents entered Ghazni from several directions late Thursday night, attacking media offices and damaging a telecommunications tower, effectively shutting off mobile service to the city as of Friday afternoon - making information about the fight hard to verify.
Gen. Sharif Yaftali, Chief of Staff for the Afghan National Army, appeared before journalists in Kabul in the afternoon and acknowledged that the control of some government compounds, including the provincial security commandment, have fallen into the hands of the Taliban.
He said on Sunday that fighting is still underway as the Taliban are hiding in residential areas and in civilian homes.
American air support was called in to help fight off an audacious assault by the Taliban on the Afghan city of Ghazni on Friday, just 80 miles south of the capital Kabul.
The Taliban's multipronged assault, which began Friday, overwhelmed Ghazni's defences and allowed insurgents to capture several parts of it in a major show of force.
More than 100 people have been killed and 133 injured in the ongoing Taliban attack in Afghanistan Ghazni. While they had briefly overrun the small cities of Farah, earlier this year, and Kunduz twice, in 2015 and 2016, neither of those cities have the symbolic and military importance of Ghazni.
In another incident, the Taliban attacked an Afghan military base in the central province of Daikundi with an explosive-laden vehicle, killing a number of government forces and taking at least 25 forces captive.
The government had been considering a ceasefire over this month's Eid al Adha holiday to match a similar truce during the Eid al Fitr holiday in June which saw unarmed Taliban fighters mingling with soldiers on the streets of Kabul and other cities.
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However, dispelling all rumors, officials have made it clear that the Taliban are not in control of the city nor are they in control of any government facilities.
Mustafa's wife, Razia, said they had no food, water or and electricity for four days.
Still, the meetings are significant, coming as the Taliban are ramping up pressure on Afghan security forces with relentless and deadly attacks.
Humanitarian officials report that the heavy fighting has resulted in more than 100 civilian casualties, said United Nations deputy spokesman Farhan Haq.
The U.S. -led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation mission has carried out airstrikes in support of Afghan forces.
President Ashraf Ghani is said to be considering a cease-fire offer to the Taliban for the upcoming Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, which starts August 21.
The attack was the latest attempt by the Taliban to seize an urban centre and comes as pressure mounts on the militant movement to enter peace talks with the government to end the almost 17-year-old war.
There was no sign of US airstrikes or helicopters Saturday, as there had been the day before.