Ghazni: In an Afghan City on the Brink, Government Control Is Just an Idea by Jawad Sukhanyar – New York Times
GHAZNI CITY, Afghanistan - What does it feel like to live in an Afghan city on the brink of falling to the Taliban?
The residents of Ghazni, a provincial capital of 280,000 people about 110 miles south of the capital, Kabul, on a main highway, can hardly tell anymore who’s in charge, and fear has become an everyday companion.
With the Taliban controlling some of the road network around Ghazni, citizens have long felt vulnerable. But during a recent visit, I kept hearing an even greater sense of defenselessness. Many here fear a full-on effort by the Taliban to seize the city could come at any time.
Not content to merely control access to the city of 280,000, the insurgents have begun attacking police posts within it. The Taliban methodically extort money — they say it is taxation — from businesses in the city center, including those near the government headquarters, and an increasing number of insurgents live openly in the city. Their fighters regularly kill officials, security personnel and even traffic police officers.
A Taliban court claims jurisdiction over the city and its outskirts, and carries out floggings, and even, sometimes, stonings…