September 7, 2016
The capital of Afghanistan’s central province of Uruzgan is on the brink of falling into militants’ hands in the wake of an advance by Taliban, who have taken position within a few kilometers of the city.
Abdul Karim, the head of Uruzgan provincial council, on Wednesday warned of the collapse of the city unless authorities in Kabul provide air support and ground reinforcements.
“If there is no significant air support and ground reinforcement, Tarin Kot will collapse,” Karim said.
Local Afghan officials say many of the embattled police and soldiers around Tarin Kot are fighting with minimal reinforcements and often with insufficient food and ammunition.
Afghan security forces have halted Taliban’s advance about two kilometers (1.2 miles) from the volatile city’s prison. The militants seek to free inmates from the jail.
However, Dost Mohammed Nayab, the spokesman for the provincial governor, said the militants would not be able to break through security cordons.
“The Taliban did whatever they could to get the capital city but they couldn’t,” Nayab said, adding, “We are ready to defend our province.”
Nayab also stated that more than 30 Taliban militants had been killed and another 23 wounded in the ongoing fighting across the region. He said six Afghan security forces were also killed and nine wounded in violent clashes.
Taliban claim to have overrun 15 government outposts, including a “strategic military base” in Uruzgan. The group said in a message that “all the surrounding areas of the capital are under tight siege and attacks” of its fighters.
Despite Taliban’s offensives in Uruzgan, NATO said it had no advisers in the province, nor had US warplanes conducted any airstrikes in recent days.
Separately, Omar Zawak, a spokesman for Helmand’s governor, has warned that Taliban continue to threaten the Helmand capital of Lashkar Gah, where militants once again cut a major highway to neighboring Kandahar.
Over the past few months, Afghan security forces have focused on blunting Taliban attacks in the southern province of Helmand and the northern city of Kunduz, besides battling Takfiri Daesh terrorists in the eastern province of Nangarhar.
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