The Taliban blocked off all roads leading into Bala Murghab district, overran 11 security outposts and put an Afghan National Army company stationed there to rout. They also killed 44 Afghan security personnel and captured another 190, and advanced to within one kilometer of the district center.
According to the UN’s Jan. 2019 assessment, al Qaeda’s relationship with the Taliban is “long-standing” and “strong.” And al Qaeda “continues to see Afghanistan as a safe haven for its leadership.” The UN estimates that the Islamic State has several thousand fighters in Afghanistan as well.
While Afghan and Coalition officials claim the assault was “repelled,” the Taliban clearly entered the base and inflicted casualties on Afghan forces.
According to UNAMA’s annual report for 2018, more civilians were killed in Afghanistan than in any year since 2009. The Taliban remains the main culprit when it comes to civilian casualties, killing or wounding more than any other party. But the number casualties attributed to the Islamic State’s branch more than doubled in 2018, as compared to 2017.
Khan’s claim that “our [Pakistani] soil is not used for carrying out terrorist attacks in other countries” is remarkably similar, if not identical to the Afghan Taliban’s false assurances that it won’t allow its territory to be used by terror groups.
The Taliban claims it does “not allow anyone to use the soil of Afghanistan against other countries including neighboring countries.” Some have uncritically accepted this claim. But it is obviously false.
Political, military, and intelligence leaders, as well as analysts and experts on Afghanistan have been claiming the Taliban is exhausted from fighting for at least 15 years. And yet the Taliban fights on while the US is desperate to leave.
The Taliban continues to gain on the Afghan government; seven more districts have fallen under Taliban control or are contested, according to SIGAR. The US military dismissed these gains, stating that this is “not indicative of effectiveness of the South Asia strategy or progress toward security and stability in Afghanistan.”