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Taliban fighters storm Ajrestan near Kabul, kill hundreds

26 September 2014

Hundreds of Taliban fighters stormed a district in an important Afghan province not far from the capital, killing dozens of people in five days, with fears being expressed that the area would fall to the insurgents, Reuters reported.

According to Asadullah Safi, deputy police chief of the area, the Ghazni provincial government had lost contact with police in Ghazni`s western Ajrestan district. Ghazni is located southwest of the capital, Kabul.

The attacks started five days ago and according to early reports, over 100 people had been killed, including 15 who were beheaded by militants, provincial deputy governor Ahmadullah Ahmadi said today.

Provincial authorities had appealed to the Afghan government - where new president Ashraf Ghani was in the process of taking over from Hamid Karzai - for reinforcements but none had arrived according to Ahmadi.

He added the condition was very critical in the district.

According to Ahmadi, Ajrestan was at risk of falling into Taliban control, adding that 60 to 70 homes had been burnt down and that communication with security forces in the district was scarce.

Meanwhile, the government had said that Afghan soldiers and police had successfully beaten back previous Taliban offensives in past months.

The 350,000-strong Afghan security forces had  been trained from scratch since 2001 by the US-led Nato coalition, which was now in the process of scaling down operations as it withdraws from the country.

All Nato combat operations would cease by the end of the year with about 12,000 troops staying on into next year on a follow-up training and support mission.

The three-month election stand-off was finally broken on Sunday with a "unity government" deal agreed, with Ashraf Ghani serving as the next president and his rival Abdullah Abdullah taking up the new role of chief executive.

Ghani was declared winner of an allegedly fraud-tainted election, however, the margin of victory and turnout were not revealed until today on concerns that fraud allegations could trigger violence from aggrieved Abdullah supporters.

Ghani said today he would focus on electoral reform to ensure future elections were free of taint, and vowed to unite the country after fears of revival of ethnic divisions of the 1990s civil war.


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