Following up on last week’s capture of an important defensive post outside the city of Ghazni, Taliban forces are advancing against the Jaghori District, which is mostly populated by Shi’ites.
The Afghan government has scrambled reinforcements, but the Taliban continues to gain ground. At least 10 Afghan commandos were reported slain in the fighting, while 15 civilians were also reported to have been killed.
The Taliban has intermittently seized Ghazni in recent years, and has been contesting the area again for months. The loss of such a big city would really hurt morale, which is why it has been a major focus of Afghan reinforcements, even as other areas face similar offensives.
The Shi’ite Hazaras have mobilized their own local militias to try to resist the Taliban. While in general, the Taliban has not explicitly targeted the Shi’ites during the war, other Islamist factions have, and that has led to the Hazaras developing their own security forces.