“Fighting is raging around three major cities in southern and western Afghanistan as Taliban militants seek to seize them from government forces.
Taliban fighters have entered parts of Herat, Lashkar Gah and Kandahar.
They have made rapid gains in rural areas since it was announced almost all foreign troops would go by September.
But the fate of these key cities could be crucial amid fears of a humanitarian crisis and how long government forces will be able to hold out.
The fundamentalist Islamist militia is already thought to have captured up to half of all Afghanistan’s territory, including lucrative border crossings with Iran and Pakistan.
One MP in Kandahar told the BBC the city was at serious risk of falling, with tens of thousands of people already displaced and a humanitarian disaster looming.
Gul Ahmad Kamin said the situation was getting worse hour by hour, and the fighting within the city was the most severe in 20 years.
He said the Taliban now saw Kandahar as a major focal point, a city they want to make their temporary capital. If it fell, then five or six other provinces in the region would also be lost, Mr Kamin said.” The Beeb
Comment: Us deplorables have a variety of folksy, countrified sayings. “This dog won’t hunt” is one such. In this case the dog is the Afghan armed forces (AAF). They massively outnumber the Taliban and other recidivist medieval freaks. They have all sorts of weapons in abundance. they still have the immense advantage of US tactical air support flying from places like Qatar. F-15E Strikeagle, AC-130 multi-engine gunships and god knows what else.
And still this dog won’t hunt. IMO they all have a sneaking feeling that the Taliban are in the right. As many very secularized Muslims told me over the decades when asked about the salafist inclinations of their children, “they are showing us what we should be.” pl
This is a very interesting perspective Colonel. It would certainly help explain the sheer quantity of AAF personnel who, at the prospect of meeting the Taliban in battle simply surrender and switch sides. The cause for which the AAF fight evidently has a much weaker hold on them than the Taliban’s.
All religions have revivalist movements from time to time, but is there something unique about the Islamic variety and how they are received by the faithful? I have read that the renovation/renewal tradition in Islam is at least in part derived from Hadith 4278 citing the Prophet (pbuh) as saying “Allah will raise for this community at the end of every hundred years the one who will renovate its religion for it”.
Taliban have the most dangerous weapon; never quitting. They will pause fighting to plant crops, honor religious timeouts, even pause for cold weather but they always return. If one never concedes then one can never lose. Especially when they know the enemy uses a system where it absolutely will eventually quit.
The Taliban believe their cause is righteous. The government forces certainly don’t believe in their corrupt government. All the training and equipment in the world cannot trump the power of belief.
Remembering off the top of my head from your book, Colonel, so I might be inaccurate: make the population prosperous, convince them that they are not oppressed, and conduct an effective on-the-ground counter insurgency. None of these things have been accomplished in Afghanistan, and when attempts were seriously made in the mid 2000s they were stillborn/failures from the start due to US dependency on the same cohort of corrupt drug pushing pedophile warlords or politicians in the thrall of Pakistan. Doomed effort, we should have been out of there 15 years ago. It is very sad to review the death toll of this war year by year, one sees that Obama’s surges were the most painful points of the war, the 2000s were a comparative cakewake. And absolutely nothing was achieved from these surges of the early 2010s. Of course the biggest US concern was preventing Afghanistan from becoming a base for international jihadism, and now that Al Qaeda has been dismantled and the deal cut with the Taliban to eradicate what territory the IS controlled, there are no issues from the US point of view with abandoning the country to the locally-focused jihadis of the Taliban.
“None of these things have been accomplished in Afghanistan, and when attempts were seriously made in the mid 2000s they were stillborn/failures from the start due to US dependency on the same cohort of corrupt drug pushing pedophile warlords or politicians in the thrall of Pakistan.” Yes. I noticed.
I stopped closely following the development in Afghanistan after the fall of the crucial border-crossing checkpoints to the Taliban and the siege of Kandahar and Harat which are just painful and irritating at the same time to see.
And btw, that scumbag Imran Khan and the Salafist Pashtun Pakis who have been instrumental in keep their own ‘dogs’ well-fed and battle-ready throughout years have a lot of blood on their hands. The reason the Taliban intends to settle in Kandahar is notable because of the proximity to Pakistan and the strong presence of the Pashtun base there. There is also this possibility that once politically restored, the Taliban may pose a ‘civil war’ threat to Pakistan and create its own mini cross-border destabilizing effect there.
“om kalabah sim kalah bim” my uncle Jack used to say.
Afghanistan is a stone on which an army must sharpen itself.China is next.
Whatever slim chance we had to remake Afghanistan in our image went out the window when we invaded Iraq.