News You Really Need To See: “Taliban Making Military Gains in Afghanistan”

“Taliban Making Military Gains in Afghanistan”

The New York Times, July 27, 2014, p. A1

Taliban fighters are scoring early gains in several strategic areas near the capital this summer, inflicting heavy casualties and casting new doubt on the ability of Afghan forces to contain the insurgency as the United States moves to complete its withdrawal of combat troops, according to Afghan officials and local elders.  The Taliban have found success beyond their traditional strongholds in the rural south and are now dominating territory near crucial highways and cities that surround Kabul, the capital, in strategic provinces like Kapisa and Nangarhar.  Their advance has gone unreported because most American forces have left the field and officials in Kabul have largely refused to talk about it.  The Afghan ministries have not released casualty statistics since an alarming rise in army and police deaths last year.”

Quickie Analysis:  When Afghan army and police deaths reached a level even a NATO official admitted were “unsustainable” last fall, the solution was to stop reporting casualties.  However, the UN now reports Afghan civilian casualties are up 24% this year with, for the first time, most civilian deaths coming not from roadside bombs but from ground fighting between insurgents and the Afghan government.  And the US hasn’t even left yet.

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