One of my first interviews in the area was with the family of a traffic police officer, Ali Ahmad Jalali, who was killed on April 20, shot eight times. Their village, Tauhidabad, is about six miles from the center of Ghazni, down a bumpy dirt road. His cousin, Ishaq Bahrami, quickly ushered me, for tea and conversation, to premises where he had a property dealership.
Mr. Jalali, who had three children, had been a regular police officer, but had shifted to the traffic force. That was no protection. He was shot around 10 a.m. when leaving his wife’s family’s house.
“Where he was shot was not 100 meters away from the Afghan Army check post,” Mr. Bahrami said.
Mr. Bahrami said he paid about $40 to the Taliban last year, but had not yet been approached for a further payment this year.
The authorities in Ghazni Province say the killings of security force personnel are usually carried out by young men on motorcycles, often using pistols with silencers. While about 50 government employees were killed in the city last year, the count for one 30-day stretch in March and April alone this year stands at 10 dead.
Mohammad Arif Noori, the spokesman for the provincial governor, said that on May 1, an Afghan soldier had been shot and killed at midday in the Hada-e-Qandar neighborhood of Ghazni.