Monday, 17 December, 2018

Taliban Stronger Than at Any Time Since Afghanistan War Began in 2001

Seventeen years after the US-led invasion of Afghanistan the current government controls or influences 226 of the country's 407 districts- or 55.5 Seventeen years after the US-led invasion of Afghanistan the current government controls or influences 226 of the country's 407 districts- or 55.5
Kenny Thornton | 06 November, 2018, 19:43

Data from Afghanistan's NATO-led Resolute Support mission showed that government forces had "failed to gain greater control or influence over districts, population, and territory this quarter", the agency said.

The report highlighted several "discouraging developments" over the past few months, including the Taliban's rejection of a second ceasefire and its five-day siege on Ghazni.

The watchdog's report added that of the remaining districts, 49 were under militant control or influence, which makes some 12 percent, adding that the balance - 132 districts - were considered "contested" between the central government in Kabul and the Taliban or other militant outfits, including the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group.

Underscoring the security weaknesses, powerful police chief General Abdul Raziq was among three people killed in a brazen insider attack on a high-level security meeting this month in Kandahar.

According to the report, in terms of the Afghan population itself - some 35 million people - Kabul controls or influences 65.2 percent, the same amount as previous year.

The report pointed to a high number of casualties among Afghan forces.

Earlier this week, US Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis said more than 1,000 "Afghan lads" were killed or wounded in just August and September.

Amazon executive criticizes Washington Post story about headquarters choice
However, the Post cautions that it does not mean the deal is certain and that other cities might have "similar discussions". Amazon, based in Seattle, is apparently seriously considering an area known as Crystal City .

SIGAR further said in its report that data also showed that the Afghan forces "made minimal or no progress in pressuring the Taliban over the quarter".

Taliban representatives have met with US officials at least twice in Qatar in recent months, most recently on October 12 with USA peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad.

Miller said Wednesday that he has changed the approach to fighting the Taliban to be a more "offensive mindset".

However, the Afghan government has not clarified its position on the possible meeting.

There are reports however that Russian Federation has also invited some of Afghanistan's mainstream politicians to the summit. As of September 30, 2018, United States counternarcotics-related appropriations for that objective had reached $8.88 billion.

In the meantime, the Ministry of Interior said the police forces and local residents have not suffered casualties during the clash.

Russia's foreign ministry says Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has agreed to send a group of senior politicians to peace talks in Moscow, at which a delegation representing the Taliban will be present. The Department of Defense (DOD) noted this year that "it's plausible the Taliban now place greater emphasis on narcotics as a primary source of revenue" than previously, but opinions vary on the extent of narcotics revenue owing to the insurgency.

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