Afghanistan: From bad to worse

Asia Sentinel

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Afghanistan: From bad to worse


Smelling blood, the Taliban are increasing their attacks on a wavering government

KABUL, Afghanistan – Upbeat western assessments of the situation in Afghanistan are unrealistic at best and duplicitous at worst. At least 19 people, including two NATO soldiers, have died in the past week in attacks carried out by the emboldened Afghan Taliban. A number of people were injured, leaving a big question mark on the ability of the US or Afghan National Forces to contain or reverse the Taliban’s reach.

Another Taliban attack in Kabul killed at least 7 policemen, leaving several injured. It is quite evident that as the date of withdrawal approaches, the war is intensifying, threatening to destroy everything the US and its allies have accomplished in 13 years of war. Over the past several months, as attacks have steadily escalated, international aid groups are pulling out their staff in huge numbers after a wave of bombings and assaults on foreigners’ compounds.

Educated and affluent Afghans who had returned from exile to invest in the country are leaving again. Their hopes, they say, have been dashed because the situation has not changed on the ground.

Apart from the Taliban’s resurgence, political lethargy is adding fuel to the fire. Despite the fact that the two main contending parties did compromise to form the government, President Ashraf Ghani is still struggling to form a cabinet that can sustain the agreement.

That the Taliban are getting stronger than ever is evident from December 13 attacks in which killed 19 people and more on December 19 that killed two NATO soldiers. The Afghan national army is sinking badly. More than 5,000 army and police have been killed in this year alone – more than the total US and NATO soldiers killed in Afghanistan since 2001.

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