Taliban forces are converging on the capital of Uruzgan province, the city of Tarin Kot. Uruzgan is a central province of Afghanistan.
A report from Reuters claimed that the Taliban were within a few kilometers of Tarin Kot . Officials warned that it would collapse unless there was air support and ground reinforcement. A more recent report from the New York TImes indicates the Taliban had advanced further. Dost Mohammad Nayab, a spokesperson for the governor of Uruzgan said that all security posts around the city had been taken over by the Taliban and they had begun firing on the police headquarters and government compound. However, he also said that 200 Afghan commandos arrived late on Wednesday, but so far there had been no air support from NATO. A spokesperson for the Interior Ministry, Sediq Sediqqi, said that special forces from an elite task force in Kandahar had reached the capital by Thursday morning. Presumably these are the commandos mentioned earlier.
Abdul Khadimzai of the provincial council said the city was under lockdown, with only security forces on the streets. He also said that the police chief and other officials had sought shelter at the airport. However, Gen Wais Samimi, the police chief said he was sill at headquarters. Khadimzai, said the Taliban had issued warnings that they would be entering the city.
Uruzgan officials and Mr. Khadimzai blamed the police for abandoning 20 checkpoints without a fight overnight. Military officials in Kabul fear there was a conspiracy.Mr. Nayab said: “The whereabouts of the police are not known, whether they have joined the Taliban or escaped somewhere. We are busy now with making plans to defeat the enemy but will need to investigate what made them leave the posts without fighting.”
There are conflicting statements from the two sides. A Taliban commander Mullah Hameedi claimed that they had taken control of the central prison only to find that inmates had been taken to the airport. However, Sediqqi of the Interior Ministry claimed that a Taliban attack on the prison had been repelled.
By late Thursday afternoon Nayab said the situation was improving as NATO airstrikes between hitting Taliban positions. Also, General Abdul Raziq the powerful police chief from neighboring Kandahar province had arrived with reinforcements. Tarin Kot is said to have about 70,000 inhabitants.
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Ken is a retired philosophy professor living in the boondocks of Manitoba, Canada, with his Filipina wife. He enjoys reading the news and writing articles. Politically Ken is on the far left of the political spectrum on many issues.