Taliban Surround Central Afghan City Of Ghazni

The central Afghanistan city of Ghazni was surrounded by Taliban forces on Monday, 12 July. Following United States President Joe Biden’s announcement to remove American troops from the country, the Taliban have increased authority in the area and intensified their mission to gain access to the territory. In addition, violence between them and defensive national government officials have escalated, further increasing tensions in the region.

According to provincial council member Hassan Rezayi, “the Taliban use civilian houses as hideouts” and attack the ANDSF (Afghan National Defense and Security Forces). Gulf News also reported that clashes between both sides “are also continuing in the southern province of Kandahar where the Taliban traditionally have had a strong presence.” Despite not gaining full control of any capitals, the Taliban exerted pressure “on Afghan security forces to respond to offensives around the country.” Still, Afghan Ministry of Defence spokesman Fawad Aman insisted that the ANDSP controlled these attacks.

The continuing and worsening violence inflicted by the Taliban poses a serious threat to Afghanistan’s security and human rights. While immediate defense responses and strategies are critical by the ANDSF to protect the territory and its inhabitants, more sustainable, non-destructive approaches must be implemented to limit further violence. Moreover, the conflict between Taliban forces and the Afghan government is unlikely to be successfully resolved through violent means. Rather, additional diplomatic negotiations and relations must continue to devise a well-organized, thorough, and viable solution.

The Taliban’s actions are not only harmful to Afghan residents by forcing them out of their homes and displacing them into more dangerous environments and situations. The harm is also evident in subsequent actions and the repercussions they ultimately cause. In their attempts to quell violence and threats to the regions, the ANDSF have used airstrikes and land offensives to try to defend against the Taliban’s attacks, endangering those in the respective provinces. In the wake of hostilities between both groups, many Afghan civilians have been injured, imprisoned, or killed. 

The U.S. withdrawal of troops will end 20 years of its presence in Afghanistan. While The New York Times states that the withdrawal agreement prohibits “[T]aliban attacks on provincial capitals,” such violence has continued. Additionally, many speculators predict the Taliban will attempt to increase their presence and rule even further and more aggressively as the withdrawal continues. Whether the involvement of a third party is necessary will become apparent as events continue to unfold, but clearly any presence—in person or overseas—must remain peaceful and purely as a mediating factor.

The invasion follows many others like it. As reported by Gulf News, during the prior week, the Taliban invaded the province of Badghis, where they seized “police and security facilities” and attempted “to take over the governor’s office before special forces pushed them back.” Additionally, The New York Times reported that in “just over two months,” the Taliban have seized “at least 150 of Afghanistan’s roughly 400 districts.” As a result, the ANDSF is weakened due to compromised forces and resources and is increasingly overpowered.

Peace talks are underway between the two parties, but no agreement is anticipated shortly. However, as the American withdrawal process progresses, it is evident that Afghan forces are wearing thin. Conflict will continue escalating unless a compromise can be reached, or the groups can find a way to coexist peacefully without violence.