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Death toll from Taliban raid on Kunduz airport hits 50

An Afghan National Army soldier stands guard in front of a shop burned during the Taliban attack on Kandahar Airport.

It comes a day after the Taliban killed at least 50 people including soldiers in a siege at Kandahar airport.

The assault underscores the Taliban’s strength as Afghanistan’s government and US forces aim to bring the group back to peace talks 14 years after an invasion that has killed more than 2,200 American troops and cost taxpayers more than $700 billion. North Atlantic Treaty Organisation says there were no reports of casualties among foreign coalition troops as a result of the Taliban attack.

An Afghan policeman keeps watch while men gather at the site of a suicide auto bomb attack in Surkhrod district of Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, December 7, 2015.

Several people were also taken hostage in the Taliban assault on Kandahar airport, which began on Tuesday.

In response, Ghani pointed out that an offensive by the Pakistani military against Pakistani Taliban has sent an influx of Pakistanis into Afghanistan.

The heavily armed suicide bombers wearing uniforms of Afghan security forces stormed the airfield, which also houses a military base that includes North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troops. The airport abuts Kandahar Air Field, a major hub of USA and Afghan military operations that the insurgents hoped to reach, Afghan Ministry of Defense spokesman Gen. Mohammad Radmanish said. “Preliminary information showed that 37 civilians were killed and 18 others wounded”, a security source told Xinhua anonymously.

Kandahar, the second-largest city in Afghanistan, is about 480 kilometers (300 miles) southwest of the capital of Kabul.

“Violence is not the way in a democratic society”, the Afghan leader said on opening the Heart of Asia conference with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Ghani was attending this week’s meeting in Pakistan to help resume peace talks.

The head of Afghanistan’s main intelligence agency resigned Thursday, laying bare disagreements with President Ashraf Ghani over his diplomatic outreach to Pakistan aimed at reviving peace talks with the resurgent Taliban.

The Taliban have stepped up their attacks across the country, including a September battle which saw them capture and hold the northern city of Kunduz for three days.

This was apparently not true, as locals have reported fighting raged through the airport compound well into Wednesday, and there is still no conclusive sign that the fighting has ended outright.

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