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18 killed in Taliban strike near Jam minaret

Located in an area largely under Taliban control, the Jam minaret is the world’s second tallest brick tower.

Located in an area largely under Taliban control, the Jam minaret is the world’s second tallest brick tower.   | Photo Credit: HANDOUT

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Militants shut off telcom towers, cut access to the UNESCO heritage site

Taliban fighters have stormed many security posts providing protection to Afghanistan’s historic minaret of Jam, cutting access to the UNESCO World Heritage Site and killing 18 security forces, officials said on Wednesday.

The attack comes less than a week after the revered 12th-century minaret, located in a remote part of the western province of Ghor, was threatened by surging floodwaters.

“The Taliban have captured some checkpoints around the minaret. We had to retreat because more fighting would cause damage to the minaret,” said Sayed Zia Hussaini, the deputy police chief of Ghor.

Abdul Hai Khatebi, the provincial Governor spokesman, said 15 pro-government militias and three policemen had been killed in the attacks, which started on Monday. “The Taliban have shut off telecommunication towers and have cut any access to the area,” said Fakhruddin Ariapur, the Ghor province director of information and culture.

On Monday, the government said it had hired about 300 local workers to channel floodwaters away from the tower. The work appeared to have saved the minaret from imminent danger. Located in an area largely under Taliban control, the Jam minaret is the world’s second tallest made of bricks, reaching a height of 65 m.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 6:51:35 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/18-killed-in-taliban-strike-near-jam-minaret/article27297259.ece

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