• publish: 8 September 2016
  • time: 3:24 pm
  • category: Security&Crime
  • No: 4406

Taliban on the verge of taking capital of Oruzgan: officials say

Taliban insurgents on Thursday were on the verge of overrunning the southern city of Tirin Kot, the capital of Oruzgan Province, Afghan officials and local elders said.

Dost Mohammad Nayab, a spokesman for the governor of Oruzgan, said that all security posts around the city had been overrun by the Taliban and that the insurgents had started firing on the police headquarters and the governor’s compound.

“The security forces are engaged with the Taliban inside the city, and fighting is ongoing,” Mr. Nayab said.

As Afghan forces rallied resources to counter the Taliban threat to the capital of neighboring Helmand Province, as well as the northern city of Kunduz, which the insurgents briefly overran last year, officials and elders warned that Tirin Kot was besieged.

Mr. Nayab said that 200 Afghan commandos arrived late Wednesday and were trying to stop the Taliban advance, but he bemoaned the lack of air support from NATO.

“If there is no reinforcement in a few hours, the Taliban may enter the governor’s house,” he said.

Abdul Karim Khadimzai, who oversees the provincial council in Oruzgan, said the city was under lockdown, with only security forces visible on the streets. The police chief and other officials had sought shelter at the airport, he said.

“The Taliban warned the citizens to stay indoors, and they are going to enter the city,” Mr. Khadimzai said.

A Taliban commander in Oruzgan, Mullah Hameedi, said they had taken control of the central prison there, only to find that the officials had already evacuated the inmates to the airport.

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