GHAZNI, Afghanistan: Thousands of Afghans have fled to Ghazni city to escape fighting in two Hazara-dominated districts, with some describing the violence Tuesday as the worst they had seen in the 17-year conflict.
The Taliban have been battling members of Afghanistan´s special forces and ethnic Hazara militia in the previously safe districts of Jaghori and Malistan in the south-eastern province of Ghazni for nearly a week. Hundreds of people, including civilians, militia, commandos and militants, have been killed, according to figures provided by locals and government officials.
Many families have fled to the provincial capital, some leaving their homes in the middle of the night and travelling on side roads to avoid Taliban checkpoints. "We were scared, other people were fleeing so we decided to leave too," said a woman called Zainab, who drove with her five children for 12 hours on dirt roads from her home in Jaghori district to Ghazni city.