Taliban attacks against Afghan security forces continue unabated

As the U.S. military continues to wonder if Taliban attacks against Afghan security forces are the result of a “splinter” group or part of its official strategy, the Taliban continues to publicize its daily military operations.

At Voice of Jihad, the Taliban’s official website, the Taliban has claimed 405 attacks in the 24 days since it resumed offensive operations following a so-called “reduction in violence” period that was concurrent with the signing of the U.S. – Taliban withdrawal deal. This averages to nearly 17 attacks per day. The number of actual Taliban attacks is likely much higher, as the Taliban does not make public reports of every attack at Voice of Jihad.

Meanwhile, the Taliban has targeted Al Qaeda and allied groups zero times during the same time period. On March 1, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the Taliban “would break that relationship [with Al Qaeda] and that they would work alongside of us to destroy, deny resources to and have al-Qaeda depart from that place.” The Taliban has made no such promise, nor has it killed, captured, or expelled a single member of Al Qaeda.

The Taliban operations against Afghan security forces have occurred in 31 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces. The Taliban has not claimed any military operations in the provinces of Baymian, Panjshir, and Nuristan.

The number of attacks, the scope of the Taliban’s operations, and the fact that they are published on the group’s official website disproves speculation by General Kenneth McKenzie, the head of U.S. Central Command. On March 13, McKenzie, in testimony to the Senate Armed Service Committee Testimony, said the following:

So the question is, do the Taliban attacks represent a core strategy of the group, they’re going to continue the attacks?  Or is it a splinter of the group and are they not monolithic?  We’re still assessing that.  If it’s directed from the top, then obviously that’s not a good thing.  Because it shows that they’re not — they not acting in good faith.

Two weeks after McKenzie asked a question that had already been answered by the Taliban, the attacks continue unabated, and the Taliban continues to flaunt them.

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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