First, I need to report that the Taleban is losing people to ISIS in northern Afghanistan…..
ISIS has held territory in the Jawzjam Province for months, and that appears to be continuing to grow with reports that top Taliban commanders in the province have defected to their side, allowing them to expand their hold across multiple districts.
Throughout the 16+ year US occupation, Jawzjan has been relatively stable, with only limited Taliban influxes that rarely amounted to more than skirmishes. The presence of ISIS, though well documented, had mostly flown under the radar too, with ISIS elsewhere in the country considered a bigger priority.
This seems to have changed with the new defections, as US officials are now calling attention to the ISIS growth in the area, and commanders are saying an anti-ISIS offensive across the north is to be launched in the next few days.
Such offensives have accomplished little in other parts of the country, with large body counts claimed, and Afghan officials repeatedly declaring ISIS “wiped out” only for the group to reassert itself within a matter of days after the fighting dies down.
Plus the Northern region is teeming with crime and corruption…..
Escalating US airstrikes across northern Afghanistan have pushed Taliban forces away from the key city of Kunduz, which Taliban have actually captured at times in recent years. Officials are trying to brag about this as a big victory.
It doesn’t look like it from within Kunduz, however, as locals report that the city is every bit as troubled, and even if it doesn’t seem like the city is facing imminent takeover, crime and corruption are soaring.
Instead of fearing Taliban, locals now fear random gunmen, who rob anyoe they think has any money, and routinely kidnap people, holding them for ransom, a tactic previously common with the insurgency.
The Taliban isn’t so far from the city either, so traveling much of anywhere risks being caught in the cross-fire of ongoing military operations in nearby villages, leaving Kunduz residents effectively trapped in an increasingly insecure “secured” city.
The Taleban has a great source of income even in poverty ridden Afghanistan….POPPIES!
Afghanistan just produced a record poppy crop despite massive $7.6 billion in U.S. counternarcotics spending since the war there began, a new report from an independent watchdog found.
The value of opium poppy produced in Afghanistan spiked from $2 billion to $3 billion from 2012 to 2013, according to a brief released Tuesday from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.
The logical reaction to this source of revenue for the Taleban would be to use Agent Orange and wipe out their crops, right? War on Drugs 101…eliminate the source. And then just recently I read a story about this problem…..
Opium unifies the enemies of American interests in Afghanistan. Poppy cultivation feeds power to the Taliban, drug lords, and corrupt officials. That power grew dramatically in 2017 — with production up 87 percent in one year to 9,000 metric tons, according to the latest report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
On Aug. 21, President Donald Trump announced that U.S. policy in Afghanistan will now serve American interests without pre-established time or troop limits. “Conditions on the ground — not arbitrary timetables — will guide our strategy from now on…. We will fight to win.” However, he also noted: “Military power alone will not bring peace to Afghanistan or stop the terrorist threat arising in that country. But strategically applied force aims to create the conditions for a political process to achieve a lasting peace.”
Now it would seem that somewhere in the Pentagon there was one little guy that raised his hand and said…”why not eliminate their crop”?
I cannot believe that after 16 years and the Afghans are still capable of raising a record crop of poppies….does anyone in the Pentagon have a brain?
And then there is China and their role in Afghanistan……..
Soon after his inauguration as President of Afghanistan in 2014, Ashraf Ghani paid a trust-building visit to China. During his trip, Ashraf Ghani maintained that China is a “strategic partner of Afghanistan in the short term, medium term, long term and very long term.”
Three years later, President Ghani met his Chinese counterpart on the sideline of 17th Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit in Astana, Kazakhstan privately for fifteen minutes. A confident Xi Jinping assured Ghani that the People’s Republic of China decided to send Wang Yi; the foreign minister to Kabul in order to talk upon bilateral issues, including peace with Pakistan. Utilizing its unique regional geopolitical leverage on all actors, China is trying to take all the credit in the Afghan peace process.
Honey is always better than vinegar…..maybe the Chinese should stop by DC some time and give a lesson or two….God knows what we are doing is not working…..
There is more disturbing news…….
Americans are rightly outraged over revelations that Congress spent $17 million since 1997 to pay off and muzzle victims of congressional sexual misconduct and other abuses. But the U.S. government has spent vastly more effectively bankrolling far more worse sexual atrocities in Afghanistan — in brazen violation of U.S. law.
Since 2002, the U.S. has spent more than $70 billion financing Afghan security forces, including the Afghan military and police. A law sponsored by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) prohibits the Pentagon from bankrolling any foreign military units if there is “credible information that the unit has committed a gross violation of human rights.”
Come on! It is time to admit that Afghanistan is a f*cked up mess and come home!