Washington,By Carlo Muñoz,November 01,2017:- The Taliban are seizing new territory, civilian casualties and U.S. military deaths are once more on the rise, and insider attacks on American and Afghan forces have more than doubled this year. That’s the grim reckoning of a U.S. inspector general’s report released Thursday even as the Pentagon and allied forces seek to implement President Trump’s strategy for the 16-year-old conflict.
The central government in Kabul has ceded more territory to the Taliban since the early days of the Afghanistan War, with the terrorist group now in full or partial control of 54 of the country’s districts, according to the latest quarterly survey to Congress from the office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).
The report contains sobering findings for Mr. Trump and his generals, even as the parallel war against Islamic State and other radical terrorist movements in Syria and Iraq has made significant gains this year.
The Taliban, which are mainly concentrated within the eastern and southern segments of the country, claimed control of nine districts previously held by government forces over the past six months. As a result, more than 3.7 million Afghans, or just over 11 percent of the country’s entire population, now live under the radical Islamist movement’s control, the SIGAR inspectors found.
Those gains come despite a marked uptick in U.S. combat operations in Afghanistan, where American and allied forces executed more airstrikes against Taliban and Islamic State strongholds in the country than in any year since 2014. U.S. and NATO forces carried out 2,400 airstrikes during an eight-month period this year against insurgent targets tied to the Taliban and forces loyal to Islamic State’s Afghan cell.
American and allied forces executed over 700 airstrikes against insurgent targets in Afghanistan in September alone, in line with the hard-line wartime strategy for Afghanistan that Mr. Trump outlined in August. (Washington Post)