first published on August 13, 2018 by Will
A major Taliban offensive against the city of Ghazni, the capital of Ghazni province, has left over a hundred Afghan Security Forces dead, and the fighting is still ongoing.
Taliban fighters have been preparing for the attack over the last several months by infiltrating fighters into the city and smuggling in weapons and supplies. On Friday the offensive began as the Taliban targeted Afghan Security Forces across the city.
Press release talking points by the Afghan government as well as the NATO-led Resolute Support PR teams have tried downplaying the effectiveness of the Taliban assault when the reality of the situation is much darker.
The US military inserted “advisors” into the fight, and since Friday, at least 24 precision airstrikes have targeted Taliban forces within the city. Although the government buildings are reported to still be under government control, most, if not all, neighborhoods are held by the insurgents. Afghan news agencies are reporting that Pakistanis and Chechens are among the dead insurgents.
The Taliban have also occupied and shut down the main “Kabul-Kandahar Highway” connecting Ghazni to Kabul. In fact, the insurgents have taken most of the rural countryside in Ghazni province. The government is reportedly only fully in control of two out of the 18 rural districts within the province. At least one military convoy sending reinforcements to Ghazni city from Paktia province has come under attack and is reportedly still engaged in fighting.
The major Taliban offensive in Ghazni city seems to be stealing the spotlight away from the bigger, bleaker picture. The Taliban are actually currently waging successful assaults across four major fronts which has left over 200 Afghan police and soldiers dead in the last three days.
Ninety miles west of Ghazni city, the Taliban overran an elite Afghan Commando outpost in the remote district of Ajristan. Somewhere between 40 and 100 of the Afghan troops are believed to have been killed, and only some of the wounded survivors were found days later lost, wandering in the mountains.
Meanwhile, a third Taliban assault on an Afghan military outpost in Faryab Province left at least 50 of the 100 defenders dead before the insurgents broke contact on Sunday.
The fourth concurrent front, in northern Baghlan Province, witnessed a Taliban raid that left 16 police and soldiers dead and another three captured.
The widespread violence across Afghanistan shows the Taliban are increasing in strength and are capable of effectively facilitating fighting across multiple fronts. The fact that NATO and the Afghan government continue to seek out peace agreements with their foe only bolsters the Taliban’s resolve as it will be interpreted as nothing more than a sign of weakness.