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Almost 200 Militants Killed as Afghan Army Seeks to Reclaim Ghazni – Minister

© AP Photo / Rahmatullah NikzadAfghan national army stand guard near the dead body of a Taliban attacker in front of the main prison building after an attack in Ghazni province, eastern Afghanistan, Monday, Sept. 14, 2015
Afghan national army stand guard near the dead body of a Taliban attacker in front of the main prison building after an attack in Ghazni province, eastern Afghanistan, Monday, Sept. 14, 2015 - Sputnik International
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Taliban militants and security forces have been locked in a deadly battle in Afghanistan’s strategically important Ghazni province since early Friday. Afganistan's defense minister stated on Monday that at least 90 soldiers and almost 200 militants have so far been killed in the clashes.

Afghanistan's defense minister has confirmed that Pakistani, Chechen and Arab fighters were fighting alongside the Taliban, which launched an attack on the city of Ghazni in the early hours of Friday and that at least 194 militants have so far been eliminated by security forces.

The minister of defense, Tariq Shah Bahrami, and Interior Minister Wais Ahmad Barmak, in a press conference, stated that the government had dispatched an additional 1,000 troops to Ghazni to bring the situation under full control.

A member of the Taliban insurgent and other people stand at the site during the execution of three men in Ghazni Province on April 18, 2015. - Sputnik International
Over 100 Dead, 133 Injured During Attack on Afghan City of Ghazni - Reports
The defense minister admitted that there had been some shortcomings from the security point of view, but troops were soon mobilized from neighboring provinces to repel the insurgents.

Earlier, President Ashraf Ghani held an emergency meeting of the armed forces to take stock of the situation in Ghazni.

Some reports claimed that the Taliban had taken control of Ghazni and that only the governor's compound and NDS building remained within the government's control.

The Taliban has also blocked the Kandahar-Kabul highway in the Shajoy district of Zabul province.

"Residents of Ghazni city have seen their city turn into a battlefield since Friday morning, with fighting and clashes reportedly still ongoing. We have received initial reports of a number of civilian casualties and of people trying to reach safe areas outside of the city," Dr. Rik Peeperkorn, acting UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Afghanistan, said in a statement.

READ MORE: Taliban Praises Recent Talks With Washington as 'Very Helpful'

"According to sporadic reports from within the city, many families have reportedly taken shelter in their houses and are unable to leave their homes. Vital communications networks and the electricity supply are down in the city of 270,000 people, which has impacted the water supply and food is also reportedly running low," the statement added.

Ghazni, 150 km east of Kabul, holds immense strategic importance, as it is situated on a highway connecting the capital to Kandahar.

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