Kabul: Clashes resumed early Wednesday between security forces and Taliban militants near an airport in Kandahar city of Afghanistan, sources said.
“About 14 Taliban fighters armed with suicide jackets, rocket launchers and guns took control of two buildings near Kandahar International Airport on Tuesday. The clashes have been going on throughout the night causing 10 militants killed,” security sources said.
Clash started again early Wednesday, he said.
“A cleanup operation is going on at the area. The security forces are moving carefully in the neighbourhood to avoid civilian casualties,” the source said.
The attackers, disguised in army uniform, fired several rocket propelled grenades towards the airport vicinity.
The airport’s operations were suspended since the attack started, for precautionary measures.
“We still cannot provide details of casualties. There is fear of possible casualties, both civilian and military personnel,” a provincial government spokesman, Samim Khpalwak, said, adding the details will be disclosed later on Wednesday.
Sources said the insurgents also attacked nearby apartment buildings and houses, where families’ of military and high-ranking officials lives.
They said 10 suicide bombers and three army soldiers had so been killed so far while more than 20 people sustained injuries by the clashes.
This attack of the Taliban militants has come at a time when a regional conference is happening in Pakistan currently with the hopes of reviving peace talks with insurgents. At present the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani is also on his visit to Islamabad for the Heart of Asia regional conference.
This is the first major assault after days of speculation that Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour was killed in an internal firefight. This attack follows an earlier incident in which two suicide bombers died assaulting a police station in Kandahar, one of the traditional strongholds of the Taliban.
The Taliban-led insurgency has been rampant since April when the militants group launched its annual rebel offensive in different places which had claimed hundreds of lives including militants, security personnel and civilians.
Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, a purported Taliban spokesman, said the attack was part of Taliban’s offensive codenamed Hamalyat-e-Azm or Resolute Operation.