Ghazni — There has been a surge of Taliban activity in central eastern Afghanistan, in the province of Ghazni. The Taliban have attacked police and security force checkpoints throughout the area; some estimates claim up to 14 dead Afghan police officers so far, including a police chief and reserve commander. At least 12 others were wounded. The clashes between the Afghan security forces and Taliban militants continue as they push forward, and the Taliban have already claimed to have taken Ajeristan — a district in western Ghazni. Still, the fighting continues and American-trained Afghan special operations have been called to the scene to help push the Taliban back.
The Taliban has claimed these attacks as their own. They also claimed to have destroyed a tank, but these claims have not been substantiated by U.S. or Afghan officials, nor have they been reported by third parties.
Kandahar — 16 people were killed when an explosion ripped through the city. A bomb squad was attempting to render safe an explosive when it went off, killing some authorities and some bystanders. Another 38 people were reportedly wounded, though the numbers on both could continue to rise as more information comes in. The vast majority of those killed were civilians.
The Taliban said previously that attacks such as these would be coming to the Kandahar Province. They have recently claimed to have overrun several checkpoints in Kandahar as well, and in a statement they claimed to have recovered, “an American PKM machine gun with 1500 rounds, 1 82-Artillary with 20 round, 1 RPG launcher with 30 rounds, 3 rifles with 5000 rounds, 33 hand grenades, 19 magazines, 3 ammunition vests and other equipment were recovered from the posts.” However, these claims seem to be currently unsubstantiated by Afghan or U.S. officials.
All of this has happened not long after the Taliban seemed to offer an olive branch to the Afghan security forces, telling them they would grant amnesty to those who stopped allying themselves to the United States. However, while the statement suggests a shift in attitude toward their Afghan countrymen, the Taliban have shown no sign of change when it comes to the battlefield, and have only continued to rise in frequency of attacks.
It seems that the coming of Ramadan, which spans from 15 May to 14 June, has either pushed the Taliban offensives forward, or at the very least changed nothing in how they wage war during this holy month.
Featured image: Security personnel inspect at the site of a deadly explosion in Kandahar, Afghanistan, Tuesday, May 22, 2018. | AP Photo