Taliban militants launched an attack on Ghazni (Ghazni province) on Friday, August 10, taking control of several parts of the city amid heavy clashes with Afghan security forces (backed by US air support). Clashes reportedly broke out between Taliban fighters and security forces around 02:00 (local time), with Taliban militants obstructing the Ghazni-Kabul highway.
US military officials in Kabul claimed that US-backed Afghan forces had repelled the Taliban attack and retained control over key government sites, with fighting ceasing by 08:00 (local time); however, local reports dispute that account and claim that heavy fighting was ongoing in some areas of the city as of 20:00, with the Taliban in control of the Afghan National Army base at Bala Hesar, the provincial headquarters, and the provincial headquarters of the Afghan National Police. Electricity and communications had been cut in the city as of Friday evening. Additional clashes between US-backed Afghan security forces and Taliban militants are expected in the coming hours.
Ghazni is the second major Afghan city to be attacked this year, following a May 2018 assault on Farah. The Taliban also previously assaulted Kunduz in 2015 and 2016.
Taliban militants had advanced near Ghazni in recent months, threatening the city by clashing with security forces in adjacent areas. Ghazni is situated on the Ring Road, the overland route that links Kabul to Kandahar, the country's second-largest city.
The security environment in Afghanistan remains complex. Although travel is permissible in some areas, other areas should be considered strictly off-limits. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel.