Video from Ghazni City shows Taliban on streets as buildings ablaze

As Resolute Support, NATO’s command in Afghanistan, continues to maintain that the city of Ghazni “remains under Afghan control” and Afghan forces are conducting a “clearing operation,” video has emerged that paints an entirely different picture, one of Taliban fighters loitering in the streets as building are ablaze.

The 1:44 long video was released by TOLONews. The video (above) “shows plumes of black smoke rising in the air as buildings burn while Taliban fighters roam the streets of a clearly battle-weary city,” the Afghan news outlet writes. Several city blocks are blackened and leveled. Afghan civilians are seen looting what appears to be a government building as papers scatter into the wind.

While the video is a snapshot of the fighting inside Ghazni, it confirms other press accounts that quote low-level government officials in Ghazni and Afghan civilians, some who remain in the city, and some who have fled. By all accounts, the Taliban control large areas of the city and are besieging the government-held buildings. While the situation in Ghazni is extremely difficult to assess, it is clear the Afghan government is not in full control of the city, as Resolute Support has claimed.

Resolute Support continues its claim Ghazni City is under Afghan control and uses body counts as a measure of success. Today, Resolute Support tweeted that its “airpower has delivered decisive blows to Taliban, killing over 140 since, 8/10.” Ironically, the images that Resolute Support attached to its tweet do not show Afghan forces inside the city; instead the Afghan forces are clearly photographed in a rural, mountainous area.

Meanwhile, the Taliban remains inside Ghazni City, has taken control of two districts in the province, and continues to block the main highways to the city to hamper the Afghan military’s efforts to reinforce its beleaguered forces. And Ghazni City burns.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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