Sunday, October 11, 2015

Taliban's Offensive in Northern Afghanistan

The eyes of the world are focused on the Taliban's recent success in taking and holding (for only a few days) the first provincial capital since 2001. Their takeover of Kunduz City shocked the Afghan public and others. The subsequent accidental bombing of a Doctor's Without Borders hospital in Kunduz City by a U.S. Air Force AC-130 gunship further focused the world on Kunduz. However, not readily apparent to others is that the Taliban are mounting a late fighting season surge across all of northern Afghanistan. Other districts have fallen under the control of the Taliban in recent weeks across the north; including two in Faryab province (The Long War Journal, Oct 8, 2015). The European component of Resolute Support at Camp Marmal in Mazar-e Sharif has very little fighting strength to offer assistance. A handful of NATO SOF advisors are available to "advise and assist" Afghan SOF units (which number too few to make a real difference) but their ability to offer air support will now be curtailed due to the CIVCAS incident in Kunduz. The coming weeks will show that the ANDSF are resilient and can counter the Taliban offensive or that it is too weak (for whatever reason) and the Taliban may carry some real gains into the winter season.

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