The Taliban overran the district of Shib Koh in the western province of Farah today after Afghan security forces stationed there fled. Farah remains one of Afghanistan’s most troubled provinces.
The attacks show that the Taliban continues to remain on the offensive and also provide a window into the accuracy of the Taliban’s reporting of its military operations.
Mullah Manan was responsible for Taliban successes in Helmand that has left every district to be controlled or contested by the group. However the Taliban has been adept at replacing key leaders who have been killed or died of natural causes.
President Ghani wants the Taliban to accept democracy, participate in the government, and break ties with terrorist groups. The Taliban has repeatedly refused to adhere to these demands. Additionally, Ghani called for negotiations that are first driven by Afghans, which is the opposite of what is actually occurring today.
The US says that Sgt. Jasso was “was likely accidentally shot” by partner Afghan forces during a “close-quarter battle” with “multiple barricaded al Qaeda shooters” in Nimroz province on Nov. 24. Nimroz is a remote area of Afghanistan and al Qaeda’s presence there confirms, once again, that the group is operating throughout the country.
The US military’s official estimate of the number of fighters in the Taliban’s ranks needs to be at least doubled given the level and intensity of fighting in Afghanistan, as well as the number of Taliban casualties claimed by the Afghan security forces.
The Taliban confirmed that it met with a high-level delegation of US officials in Qatar, and quashed news reports that the group wanted the Afghan government to postpone the April 2019 presidential elections and establish an interim government.
The Taliban is more than happy to negotiate the terms of US withdrawal — but if and only if an accord is reached on its terms. Because if a so-called peace agreement can be reached, you can be sure it will be one that will not benefit the Afghan people, the US, or the region.