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Taliban attack on Afghan Ghazni city repulsed, scores killed

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The Afghan government forces repulsed a massive Taliban offensive on Ghazni city, the capital of eastern Ghazni province, on Friday, the Defense Ministry said.

"Around 150 rebels have been killed or injured, and the enemies were forced to flee," the ministry said in a statement.

However, the statement confirmed that a group of militants had taken positions inside residential houses in the fourth precinct of Ghazni city and continued sporadic firing.

In a surprise move, Taliban militants launched multi-pronged offensive on Ghazni city, infiltrated the city early Friday morning, and blocked the road linking the capital city of Kabul to the southern Kandahar and western Herat city.

The Defense Ministry, however, did not mention the casualties of security personnel.

Meanwhile, hospital sources in Ghazni city confirmed that 16 dead bodies including 14 in uniform and two civilians, and 33 injured people including eight civilians had been taken to the provincial hospital.

Backing the Defense Ministry's statement, Ghazni police chief Farid Ahmad Mashal claimed that the militants after suffering huge casualties had fled away and cleanup operations were underway to wipe out the insurgents in and around the city.

Locals, however, said that sporadic fighting was still going on and many buildings in Ghazni city had been badly damaged.

Zabihullah Majahid, a purported spokesman for the Taliban outfit, claimed that the militants had overrun several checkpoints after inflicting casualties on security personnel.

It is difficult to verify the claims made by both of the warring sides with independent sources.

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