Afghan police officers search a vehicle at a checkpoint on the Ghazni highway, in Maidan Shar, west of Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Aug. 13, 2018. A Taliban assault on Ghazni, a key city linking areas of Taliban influence barely 75 miles from Kabul, has killed about 100 Afghan policemen and soldiers since Friday, the Afghan Defense Ministry said. A year after the Trump administration introduced its strategy for Afghanistan, the Taliban are asserting themselves on the battlefield even as U.S. officials talk up hopes for peace. That’s raising questions about the viability of the American game plan for ending a war that began when some of the current U.S. troops were in diapers. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

Mattis: Taliban tactics endanger Afghan civilians

August 14, 2018 - 2:39 pm

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says the Taliban's usage of civilian homes as fighting positions is forcing Afghan government forces to move slowly in expelling the insurgents from the city of Ghazni.

Mattis told reporters Tuesday during a visit to Brazil and Argentina that the fighting in Ghazni was continuing, five days after the Taliban overwhelmed defenses and pushed deep into the city, which is the capital of the province with the same name.

The United States has carried out airstrikes and sent military advisers to aid Afghan forces in the city.

Mattis says the attacks reveal nothing new about Taliban capabilities. He says it shows they remain focused on fighting among civilians.

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