On Friday, United States forces launched airstrikes to counter a major Taliban attack on an Afghan provincial capital, where terrified residents cowered in their homes amidst blasts and gunfire as security forces try to beat the rebels back.
According to the officials, Afghan special forces were also being deployed to the southeastern city of Ghazni after the latest attempt by the Taliban to capture an urban centre, with the assault coming as pressure builds on the rebels to enter peace talks.
According to provincial governor spokesman Arif Noori, at least one Afghan soldier has been killed and seven others injured in the fighting.
Civilian houses and army checkpoints have come under mortar attack and the bodies of dozens of Taliban fighters are in the streets, he added.
“We are scared for our life. The Taliban are roaming everywhere in and around the city,” shopkeeper Mohammad Haleem told AFP.
“Heavy explosions and gunfire can be heard. We are terrified,” Yasan wrote in a Facebook post.
“US Forces responded with close-air support this morning in #Ghazni,” the official account for US Forces in Afghanistan tweeted Friday.
“Afghan forces held their ground and maintain control of all govt. centres. Another failed attempt by Taliban to seize terrain while creating strategically inconsequential headlines,” it continued.
“Commando forces are on their way, and black hawks are hitting important enemy targets,” wrote Shahhussain Murtazawi in a post on social media.
According to an Afghan security official, police special forces have also been deployed to help block the Taliban advance on the city.