Residents claim over 100 bodies were taken to the city’s hospital and more than 200 people were treated at the hospital in the past few days.
Clashes Ease in Ghazni City As Taliban ‘Pull Back’
Ghazni residents said early Tuesday that the Taliban has withdrawn from a number of areas in the city after setting government buildings on fire.
Residents said that currently the battlefield is in Asfanda, Noghi and around the Khoghyani district, on the outskirts of the city.
They also said that the bodies of over 100 people have been taken to Ghazni’s regional hospital and over 200 people were treated at the hospital – many of them in the hospital grounds because of overcrowding.
Residents said a shortage of medicine is one of the main problems at the hospital and that there are still bodies lying in the hospital grounds.
In the meantime, a security source confirmed that 100 policemen were killed in the Ghazni clashes but no details have been released on the number of casualties among army and NDS forces.
Local officials have not yet commented on the security situation as of Tuesday.
On Monday, minister of defense Tariq Shah Bahrami and minister of interior Wais Ahmad Barmak held a press conference on the Ghazni situation – stating at least 70 police soldiers alone had been killed in the past four days.
The defense minister also stated that Pakistani, Chechen and Arab fighters had been fighting alongside the Taliban who launched their attack on Ghazni city in the early hours of Friday morning.
On the death toll, Bahrami said that 194 insurgents had so far been killed. He also noted that at least 20 civilians had also been killed as a result of the fighting.
He said and an extra 1,000 troops had been sent to Ghazni city to fully bring the situation under control.
Bahrami acknowledged that there had been some shortcomings from a security point of view but that they would soon mobilize troops from neighboring provinces to help repel the insurgents.
According to him, 50 commandos reported missing earlier in the day had been accounted for. He said by mid-afternoon, 35 had withdrawn to neighboring Daikundi province and the rest were on their way.
He said Ghazni will see a major turnaround for the better within the next 24 hours.
Interior Minister Wais Barmak meanwhile said security forces have started recovering the bodies of fallen soldiers in Ghazni.
Barmak rejected all claims made by the Taliban that the group had taken control of key government facilities and said everything was under the control of government.
According to him, the chief of army staff, an MoI deputy and an NDS deputy are leading the operation. He reiterated that Ghazni was completely under government control.
According to Barmak, government is working hard to get humanitarian aid into the city but says insurgents are using residents as human shields and that they are hiding in civilian homes and in mosques.
On Monday the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Afghanistan said they had received reports of a number of civilian casualties in the ongoing battle in Ghazni city.
According to the statement: “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,” said Rik Peeperkorn, acting Humanitarian Coordinator for Afghanistan.
He also said: “Medication at the main hospital is reportedly becoming scarce and people are unable to safely bring casualties for treatment. Main access roads both north and south of the city to larger cities where medical facilities are available are contested and unsafe for people to travel.”
“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 telecommunications net-works and the electricity supply are down in the city of 270,000 people which has impacted on the water supply, and food is also reportedly running low.