(PatrioticPost.com)- With the withdrawal of US and NATO forces nearly complete, the Taliban have taken their fight to Afghanistan’s capital. On Wednesday, the Taliban claimed responsibility for a bomb and gun attack on the home of acting Defense Minister Bismillah Mohammadi late Tuesday night.
Several hours after that attack, there was an explosion near the office of Afghanistan’s main security agency wounding three people. Though the Taliban did not yet claim credit for this bombing, it is likely they were behind that as well.
In confirming they were behind Tuesday’s attack, Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said that the minister’s residence was targeted over an important meeting being held there at the time of the attack.
After Tuesday’s attack a battle erupted between Afghan forces and the Taliban attackers that lasted for more than four hours. According to the Ministry of Interior, at least eight civilians were killed and twenty wounded during the fighting.
Wednesday’s blast near the National Directorate of Security was caused by a car bomb. Two civilians and a security official were injured.
The US/NATO withdrawal has emboldened the Taliban who began a stepped-up campaign to defeat the US-backed Afghan government back in April. This offensive has become more intense in the past month as the official withdrawal date inches closer.
Fighting has been especially heavy around the city of Herat near the western border with Iran, and in the cities of Lashkar Gah and Kandahar in the south.
In Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province, a state of emergency has been declared and Afghan forces are getting reinforcements as well as US air support to hold the city.
The loss of Lashkar Gah would be a huge blow for the Afghan government which, after losing many rural districts to the Taliban, pledged to defend strategic centers.
Residents of Lashkar Gah are fleeing their homes as fighting between Afghan forces and the Taliban intensifies. On Tuesday the UN reported that at least 40 civilians were killed in Lashkar Gah in the previous 24 hours. As airstrikes and ground battles continue, doctors reported receiving hundreds of wounded from both Lashkar Gah and the neighboring city of Greshk.
Within the city radio and TV stations taken by Taliban fighters went off the air, and Taliban fighters began moving into homes to prevent residents from helping Afghan forces.