30 Afghan soldiers killed in Taliban assault

The Taliban killed 30 soldiers in an assault on Afghan security forces in the northwestern province of Badghis earlier today, government officials said. An Afghan official claimed the Taliban infiltrated and scouted bases during a ceasefire and used that information to launch its attack.

Afghan officials said that the Taliban attacked two security outposts and overran a military base in the contested district of Bala Murghab, according to Reuters.

“Large numbers of Taliban came from several directions,” the head of Badghis’ provincial council told the news agency. “After hours of heavy fighting 30 Afghan security forces were killed and the Taliban captured the base.”

Security in Badghis has deteriorated since US forces ended the surge and handed over control to Afghan forces in the summer of 2014. Four of Badghis’ six districts, including Bala Murghab, are contested, while one is Taliban controlled, and one is government controlled, according to an ongoing analysis of Afghanistan’s districts by FDD’s Long War Journal.

The assault on the base and security outposts may presage an attack on the Bala Murghab’s administrative center. The Taliban often masses its forces outside the district center and strikes security checkpoints and bases before attempting to raid the administrative buildings.

The provincial council chief claimed that the Taliban surveyed the base and planned the attack during the three day period where the Afghan government and the Taliban ceasefire overlapped at the end of the Eid holiday. Taliban fighters were allowed to enter government controlled areas, including the capital of Kabul, to celebrate Eid during the ceasefire. Some Afghan officials who have been critical of the ceasefire warned that the Taliban may use its access to the cities to plot new attacks.

Photographs of Afghan soldiers and Taliban fighters embracing each other flooded the web during the ceasefire, giving hope to many that the Taliban was willing to enter negotiations with the Afghan government. Those hopes were dashed when the Taliban rejected the Afghan government’s call to extend its three day ceasefire and immediately resumed attacks on Afghan forces.

Despite the Taliban’s resumption of attacks, President Arshaf Ghani extended the government’s unilateral ceasefire for 10 days, and offered the Taliban a year-long ceasefire if it was willing to negotiate.

That is a non-starter. The Taliban has refused to negotiate with the Afghan government, which it says is un-Islamic and a “puppet” of the United States and the West. In the past, the Taliban’s top spokesman said the group “has not readily embraced this death and destruction for the sake of some silly ministerial posts or a share of the power.” The Taliban has refused to cut ties with and denounce al Qaeda, which remains its ally to this day.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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5 Comments

  • Paddy Singh says:

    Is there any doubt that the Taliban used the ceasefire to their advantage? No one seemed to mind and all were happy, even the Americans who thought it was the start of negotiations. I guess that they now realise that the Taliban were not fools and were in fact far more professional than the Yankees.

  • Truthful James says:

    After Vietnam, the U.S. Army’s singular objective was to get rid of the draft, the clearest signal to the American citizenry regarding the course of the war.

    The war in Vietnam was fought not as previously the wars of this Republic had been fought — convert to wartime, postpone peacetime; fight full bore to complete victory; return to peacetime economy. The outcome was in fact decided when the President removed the surtax — a demonstration to the public of a lack of seriousness. It is not far off the mark to blame the failure of the political establishment’s willingness to forego victory in exchange for the 1964 Presidential election. There was a political cost to that decision. Thw “unpatriotic” political upheaval” — the demonstrations, resulted. The well of patriotism which had served this country had been drawn down. Afghanistan is the echo. The Army has up to now achieved its objective — effective control of the Defense budget; no draft.

    • irebukeu says:

      James, respectfully, I disagree. The public wanted the draft to end. Period. The Army (especially) reorganized so that to go to war, the reserves would have to be activated. They didn’t want to get left in the lurch again by the government.
      Lets be truthful here James and admit that not one US president or defense secretary thought that Vietnam conflict could be won. The lies spewed and spewed until no one could take it any longer or they stopped caring. At some point the truth comes out. Always does. The people injured, apart from the obvious death and destruction war brings, are those who believed all the lies. Those who were pulled along by the lies, that repeated them, many cannot acknowledge the truth to this very day everyone lives with the lingering after effects of the believed lie. Honest people belived total lies. It can destroy a soul. They create cognitive dissonances to explain how they were right all along. How the war was so winnable s easily. I hate to say this but they make a worse argument than Hitler made to the German people-that the government stabbed Germany in the back. These Vietnam history revisionists think that the American people stabbed the US Government (military) in the back. Think about what that means and how that pits American and American against each other. Its no wonder we are at such a political impasse today.

      They blame civilians at home for the war being lost. Many of these same people or people who agree with the thinking, try with mixed results, to try a version like it today.
      The Corruption of the South Vietnamese governments (you pick one and we can talk about it) they blame on mothers in towns in Kansas and California that didn’t want their children to die. The inability of the US military to control even the area around Saigon deep in south they blame on kids with signs who burned their draft cards to resist the meat grinder they saw government as delivering them into to cover the lies. A simple reading of the problems encountered in Củ Chi by the US Army immediately exposes the silliness of the idea that occupation of the north could have brought the victory. Who wants occupation you say?
      What could bring victory then? A rain of death from the sky? On who? Already blown out military bases or women-the young and old alike that live in cities? Should firebombs have been used on the unarmed kids? As cities surrender as would be requested, occupation occurs. There is no escape from it. The real fight would have been the attempted occupation of the North.
      Meanwhile remember, America is setting itself up as the Moral leader in the western world. This would have made that case harder and driven away support of much less bloodthirsty nations in the UN if we started carpet bombing villages because there were tunnels beneath them and the old men, women and kids who dig them would not show us where they were. Yeah… thats gonnna be a hard argument to win. Thousands and thousands of miles from home, on a people that never attacked you. Never threatened you, wanted peace with you (1942,1943,1944,1945, 1946, 1947) how would we explain what looks a genocide especially to people Communism was trying to win over by claiming this would eventually be their fate as well, unless they resisted capitalism? Just a decades after an actual attempted Genocide fresh in history for people to draw from and point to. Not good.

      The appeal you make about total war is a great argument to make for defensive war. I am a Non-Interventionist yet cant deny the need for “Total War” when war comes calling. Vietnam wasn’t the time or place for defensive war. WWII was. The corruption in South Vietnamese governments, its peoples inconsequential differences from the “north” and an innate desire among Americans to “live and let live” meant that support for even victory-then occupation, would have faded. Who is to say that the North would have ever been beaten? A resistance movement had been going twenty to thirty some years before we would have driven in on our turnip trucks with conscripts and 90 day wonders. There were more old tunnels in the north than both new and old tunnels in the south at the start of the American intervention. The north is where the main axis of resistance against the Japanese was, where control was wrested, at high cost in the 40’s and perhaps where nationalism was sparked in such a way that pure Murder of Innocents down to the last one was the only way to extinguish it.
      Among people who are mostly Christians (Americans), good luck with that thinking.
      Americans divided politically over Slavery then fought a war to end its spread-snuffed it out over two hundred years ago. Genocide in southeast Asia would have went over like a lead balloon. Thats why it it never happened to start with.
      I’ll leave you with French general LeClercs words from 1946. “In 1947 France will no longer put down by force a grouping of 24,000,000 inhabitants which is assuming unity and in which there exists a xenophobic and perhaps a national ideal…. The capital problem from now on is political. It is a question of coming to terms with an awakening xenophobic nationalism, channeling it in order to safeguard, at least in part, the rights of France.”
      Obviously, you don’t see things that way. I don’t want to be wrong any longer than I have to be. Can you help me out here Truthful.

  • ELKHORNTAVERN says:

    What a complete joke…

  • irebukeu says:

    I’m not a religious man but I’m praying to god that we get our wits about us. If any Americans had been in that base, their lives would be forfeit. Its only a matter of time under these conditions. For gods sake, change the conditions. Take the fight to the enemy or GET OUR MEN AND WOMEN HOME!!!

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