20 mln Dollars needed to reconstruct Ghazni public facilities: Afghan president

Afghan security personnel petrol in the city of Ghazni

He would not specify the six sites.

US Defence Secretary, Jim Mattis said that the recent escalation in Taliban's violence is likely to remain for weeks to come.

Afghan forces appeared to have finally pushed Taliban fighters from the strategic city of Ghazni on Wednesday, as shopkeepers and residents warily returned to the streets after days of intense ground fighting and U.S. airstrikes. It is also plagued by roadside bombs planted by insurgents, which are usually intended for security forces but often kill and wound civilians.

Kabul police say two gunmen who attacked an intelligence service compound in the city's northwest have been killed by security forces and that the siege is over.

At least 37 people, the majority of them students, were killed when a suicide blast ripped through a school in a Shia area of Kabul on Wednesday, officials said, the latest assault on Afghanistan's war-weary capital.

Thousands of Taliban insurgents entered Ghazni after destroying checkpoints, killing dozens of Afghan soldiers and police officers, cutting communications and the highway.

"They have not endeared themselves, obviously, to the population of Ghazni", Mattis said during an August 16 visit to Colombia. He further added that the Taliban have fallen short and they can not win elections hence they are using guns and bombs.

The Taliban operation followed a familiar pattern, Mattis said in remarks to reporters flying with him Thursday evening to Bogota, Colombia, where he was winding up a weeklong tour of South America.

The strongly worded statement by President Ashraf Ghani denounced the "terrorist bombing" on Wednesday, and ordered relevant authorities to investigate how the attack happened. And they likely were hoping to sow fear in advance of the October elections, he added.

"We have not received any evidence to back up these spurious accusations and reject these baseless allegations", Foreign Office spokesman Muhammad Faisal said, rejecting allegations made by Afghan officials and others. "They will never hold against the Afghan army". The assault on Ghazni was widely seen as a show of force ahead of possible peace talks with the US, which has been at war in Afghanistan for almost 17 years. The forces have been reeling to counter the Taliban even the Taliban too has lost its men in the clashes.

Some bodies had been double-counted when they were being taken to hospital from the blast site following the attack on Wednesday, the ministry said.

Next week will mark one year since President Donald Trump announced a revised war strategy for Afghanistan, declaring there would be no time limit on US support for the war and making a renewed push for peace negotiations.

Separately on Thursday, Islamic State claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in Kabul that tore through an educational centre on Wednesday where teenagers had been studying for a university entrance examination.

Earlier on Thursday, the ministry revised an earlier death toll from the attack down to 34, not 48.

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