This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Taliban On The Rebound

"People are in a state of fear here. The people in Takhar are also preparing to leave. They fear this city will fall more easily than Kunduz."
Ahmad Khalid, Kunduz City resident, now in Taloqan

"The military leadership here is really frustrated with the Afghan leadership. They have not been able to maintain momentum."
Senior U.S. official
Afghan residents leave their home after a battle with the Taliban in Kunduz Province, Afghanistan September 28, 2015.     Reuters/Stringer

For all the treasury and manpower that the United States expended in training and equipping Afghan police and military there is little to show for it. Even while thousands of Afghan soldiers were massed around the city of Kunduz no one in Afghanistan's military intelligence had any idea that there were Taliban plans in the offing for surprise offensives that would enable a mere several hundred or so Taliban fighters to take the initiative and occupy the city of Kunduz.

After stealth infiltration during the holiday of Eid when Afghans are traditionally on holiday move to visit relatives, Taliban fighters succeeded in taking the city. They had blocked all highway access, and set improvised explosive devices, detaining government forces from immediate response. When government forces did enter the city it was to engage in street-to-street combat with heavy fighting around the city centre.

Afghan security forces take their positions during a gun battle in Kunduz city, northern Afghanistan September 29, 2015.    Reuters/Stringer

Residents cowered in fear in their homes while munitions flew about, hoping that they would survive their ordeal. Now it appears that the Taliban capture of Kunduz, however brief it may turn out to be, is part of a larger picture of the Taliban asserting its capability to demonstrate its fighting capacity and instill uncertainty and fear in the minds of residents that the central government is incapable of protecting them.

In provincial capitals in provinces south of Kunduz residents were preparing to leave their homes, fearful of being trapped in a Taliban assault. Reports that a northern district of Takhar province had fallen to the Taliban further struck people's fears. Afghan authorities from the far northeast province of Badakhshan stated that one of their districts had collapsed into Taliban hands.

Fears of a domino effect in the northeast of the country where villages, districts and other provincial capitals falling into Taliban control represented a nightmare scenario to the Western military strategists who are witnessing their investment in time, energy and funding going to naught. They are well aware that the more momentum gained through staving off a counteroffensive by the government on the part of the Taliban, the more demoralized the country will be.

Afghan soldiers at the Kunduz airport prepared on Wednesday for a counteroffensive to try to retake the city from the Taliban. Credit Nasir Waqif/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

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