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US advising Afghan forces in battle for eastern city

AP  |  Kabul 

The has sent military advisers to aid Afghan forces in Ghazni, where they were struggling today to regain full control three days after the launched a massive assault on the eastern city.

The assault was a major show of force by the Taliban, who had infiltrated deep into the city and attacked from several directions. In recent years the insurgents have seized several districts across the country and staged near-daily attacks on Afghan security forces, but have been unable to capture and hold urban areas.

The US-led NATO mission has carried out airstrikes in support of Afghan forces.

Lt Col Martin O'Donnell, a in Afghanistan, said Afghan forces were engaged in a "cleanup operation," while acknowledging for the first time that "some US advisers were on the ground."

The US and NATO formally concluded their combat mission at the end of 2014, but have repeatedly come to the aid of Afghan forces as they have struggled to combat a resurgent The insurgents have meanwhile been steadily increasing their political profile, demanding direct talks with and recently meeting with officials in neighboring

Ghazni, a key city linking areas of influence barely 120 kilometers (75 miles) from the capital, Kabul, came under attack early Friday. The Taliban claim to have seized parts of the city, while Afghan officials insist the situation is under control. The Taliban have destroyed a communications tower, severing phone links and making it difficult to confirm details of the fighting.

Afghanistan's reported that a reinforcement convoy of Afghan forces was ambushed Sunday as it made its way from neighboring province to They were hunkered down about 80 kilometers (50 miles) from Ghazni, it said.

The assault on began as the of the Talban's political office was wrapping up a rare diplomatic foray in held meetings with Uzbekistan's and other officials.

The Taliban's four-day trip to Uzbekistan, which ended Friday, was the strongest sign yet of the group's growing regional clout, while the assault has highlighted its military prowess.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, August 12 2018. 23:55 IST