Residents of Ghazni were on Tuesday slowly venturing out onto the streets of their battle-weary city following four days of heavy clashes between security forces and the Taliban.
The city, which is just 180km southwest of Kabul, has sustained serious damage in certain areas and many houses and shops have been destroyed.
Hundreds of Taliban fighters stormed the city in the early hours of Friday morning and engaged in heavy clashes with security forces for days - before being pushed out on Tuesday.
TOLOnews journalists in the city report that the worst hit area was PD2, around the Provincial Police Headquarters.
Ghazni police said Taliban fighters caused a lot of damage after using a civilian house in the area as a stronghold. The house was eventually destroyed in an airstrike in order to eliminate the militants.
Also in PD2, shopkeepers observed the burnt remains of their businesses. The market, also in PD2, had burned down – as this had been the frontline of the clash between security forces and Taliban for three days.
TOLOnews reporter Tamim Hamid who visited Ghazni City on Tuesday, said security forces were visible across the city – as they conducted house-to-house searches for any remaining militants.
Ghazni residents said the central parts of the city were the worst affected, as many government buildings were in the area.
“We call on government not to establish its institutions close to residential houses. There are five to six companies, one of them is a gas company. The war was ongoing close to them,” said one Ghazni resident.
A rickshaw driver said he left his house for the first time in days on Tuesday and most of his customers for the day had been people wanting to check on their properties and houses.
“I transported a family who left their house and I transferred some other people who wanted to go back to their houses after the clashes,” said the rickshaw driver.
A medical doctor in Ghazni said his house is near a military base and that they had been trapped in their house throughout the battle. He said the military facility close their house caught fire and burned for hours.
“We could not open our door. We were shot at if we did. A rocket hit the military establishment when we were trying to get out,” said the doctor.
Hamid reports that the frontline of the battle had been in PD2 of the city and that according to residents, Taliban hid in mosques and had been inside the city and on the outskirts. One of the mosques, where Taliban fighters had been taking cover, is in PD2. Foreign forces targeted it in an airstrike, residents said.
According to Hamid, the mosque has been destroyed but there are still bodies of Taliban fighters under the rubble.
Ghazni Police Chief Farid Ahmad Mashal said hundreds of bodies of Taliban fighters had been lying in the streets for days. He said military tanks “ran over” the corpses and the wounded.
“The enemy could not collect the bodies,” the police chief said. “There are between 500 to 600 bodies (of Taliban) only in Qazi Abdullah Madrassa (area)… We say it with pride that we run over their bodies with tanks.”
The Taliban launched their attack in the early hours of Friday morning and had captured parts of the city by Friday afternoon. However, the group was pushed out of Ghazni on Tuesday.