The city of Ghazni is the latest in aggressive Taliban land grabs putting pressure on both President Ashraf Ghani and President Trump to mount a significant response as the noose around Kabul begins to tighten.
On Aug. 10, more than 1,000 Taliban fighters stormed the city in a predawn assault. Officials claim the Taliban were aided by foreign fighters, including Pakistanis and Chechens (Don't get us started about those Chechans), and even some Al Qaeda affiliates. Since Friday, Taliban fighters have roamed the streets of Ghazni City, a strategic urban center less than 100 miles from the capital. The assault not only killed 200 Afghan soldiers, but it appears to have routed a company of Afghan Commandos who are widely thought of as the best of the best (After all Army SF and Marine Raiders have trained and supplied them for over a decade).
Land grabs like these are devastating to the narrative of progress and the promotion of upcoming elections. US backed Afghan forces continue to assist with air strikes in an attempt to turn back Taliban forces.
Why does it matter?
Location, location, location. Remember that big giant ring road that the US considered vital to its success? Well not only is the road falling apart which is bad for enterprise but Ghazni sits right on that road, which effectively cuts Kabul off from a major portion of the south. This leaves the Taliban in a much stronger position to negotiate a power exchange with the central government.
Wish the boys luck, and say a prayer to your deity of choice for the Air Force and SOF guys pushing in to help their Afghan brothers.