Taliban storms Afghan region, kills 100 in days, amid incomplete power handover

Taliban storms Afghan region, kills 100 in days, amid incomplete power handover
In the midst of an ongoing power handover in Afghanistan, hundreds of Taliban fighters stormed a strategic district close to the capital, killing more than 100 people. The fighting is ongoing, and if the army doesn’t arrive soon, the area could fall.

Contact with police in certain districts of the Ghazni province has already been lost after 700 fighters about five days ago made early reports of attacks, which resulted in the immense death toll. Fifteen of the dead were beheaded, according to provincial deputy governor Ahmadullah Ahmadi, speaking to Reuters.

On Friday, heavy fighting in districts of the Ghazni province was ongoing. In Ajrestan district a suicide car bomber rammed a police checkpoint earlier in the day. Contact was subsequently lost with the district.

The capital is just about 200km (125 miles) north-east of the district, and the newly-conquered territory would provide a bridge with the south and southeast, where insurgents have made large gains in recent months.

It would also give them a base for attacking the adjacent provinces of Uruzgan and Daikundi.

"If there is no urgent help from the central government, the district will collapse," deputy police chief for the area Asadullah Safi said.

"We have asked repeatedly for helicopters to evacuate the wounded, but so far nothing has been done," Ahmadi told reporters.

Reuters / Stringer

This is contrary to what the regional spokesman for the army says however. He claims reinforcements were sent from Kabul on Thursday, although no information as to their whereabouts exists at this time.

Meanwhile, as local authorities appeal for help from Kabul, it is in the middle of an unconcluded power handover from Hamid Karzai to President-elect Ashraf Ghani, 13 tumultuous years after the failure of the US-led foreign invasion to restore the rule of law in the mountainous country.

Karzai underlined during his departure speech on Tuesday that America invaded Afghanistan in 2001 for “its own interests,” and never really wanted peace in the region.

READ MORE: Karzai’s farewell speech: US didn’t want peace in Afghanistan

"War in Afghanistan is based on the aims of foreigners. The war in Afghanistan is to the benefit of foreigners. But Afghans on both sides are the sacrificial lambs and victims of this war," he told the AP.

Karzai is the only president to hold the post since the invasion.