The Taliban Shut In on Afghan Cities, Pushing the Nation to the Brink

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Although Taliban ways fluctuate from area to area, the outcomes are often the identical: elevated taxation on highways, plummeting morale among the many Afghan safety forces with dwindling U.S. help and rising worry amongst these dwelling in once-secure areas.

The Taliban’s intention is to power the Afghan authorities into complying with their phrases of peace. In Qatar, Taliban leaders have demanded the discharge of round 7,000 extra prisoners and the institution of an interim authorities, two requests that Ashraf Ghani, Afghanistan’s president, has to date refused.

“The Taliban appear to imagine that making use of this strain, staging their fighters to doubtlessly strike Kandahar and different city facilities, will strain the U.S. to withdraw, or else,” Mr. Watkins stated. “The strategic logic might need the other impact.”

To arrange for a attainable multipronged assault ought to america keep past the Might 1 deadline, the Pentagon has requested extra army choices — together with a rise of U.S. troops or a dedication of extra air help from U.S. Central Command, which oversees operations within the Center East and Afghanistan, in keeping with two U.S. officers. Whether or not these requests will likely be granted is determined by the Biden administration’s subsequent transfer, which is anticipated to be introduced in coming weeks upon finishing a evaluate of the present settlement in place with the Taliban.

The unrest has already delayed the handover of Kandahar Airfield, a sprawling American base east of the capital, to Afghan forces in current months. For now, a small detachment of U.S. and NATO troops stay to help the struggling Afghan forces, in keeping with a U.S. army official.

With the police power principally in spoil, the Afghan military and commandos have moved into Kandahar, starting operations in November to retake territory that was then retaken by the Taliban. Commando officers stated their forces had been exhausted by frequent orders to fill in for his or her police counterparts.

In close by Arghandab District, the positioning of the Taliban’s northern offensive on Kandahar metropolis, military leaders and cops say they’re severely understaffed and their pleas for help have gone unheeded by officers in Kabul.

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