The Taliban has announced that it will refrain from offensive operations against the Afghan government for three days during the Eid holiday. However, this is a shorter timeframe than the Afghan government’s announced ceasefire. And the jihadists say they will continue to attack the “foreign occupiers,” meaning the US and allied forces, during this brief respite. The Taliban also does not say it will participate in meaningful peace talks with the Afghan government.
In early May, the Taliban shut down the main highway that links Ghazni and Paktia provinces in eastern Afghanistan. One month later, the Taliban continues to control the road and tax civilians as Afghan forces have been unable to secure the road.
At least four other US Special Forces personnel, as well as a Somali special forces soldier, were also wounded. The Special Forces soldiers were ambushed in an area that is a known Shabaab stronghold.
The government of Afghanistan announced yesterday that it has entered into a unilateral ceasefire with the Taliban. Gen. John Nicholson, who oversees the US-led war effort, claimed it was a “bold initiative for peace.” But the thinking behind the ceasefire is confused.
CENTCOM released the dates and general locations of the last 18 counterterrorism strikes against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Since early 2017, the military has provided few details on the Yemen air campaign, typically only providing an aggregate number and scant information on high-value target strikes.
A strike that far north, particularly with such a high casualty count, demonstrates the alarming geographic span of Shabaab’s insurgency in the country. In 2018, the US has hit Shabaab targets nearly 1,000 miles apart.
A suicide bomber struck a meeting of the Afghan Ulema Council (AUC) in Kabul earlier today. The Taliban’s spokesman denied that his group had any connection to the attack. However, the Islamic State claimed responsibility via its Amaq News Agency, which released two short messages on the “martyrdom” operation.
The Taliban are operating in all regions of Afghanistan and casualties among Afghan police have increased, according to the Ministry of Interior. This directly contradicts overly optimistic assessments by both Resolute Support and the Pentagon.