Small Wars Journal

Taliban Broaden Their Reach in Villages Across Afghanistan

Taliban Broaden Their Reach in Villages Across Afghanistan by Jessica Donati and Habib Khan Totakhil, Wall Street Journal

The Taliban have expanded their military fight against Afghanistan’s government into a drive to administer villages across the country, deepening the formidable challenge U.S.-backed forces face in trying to uproot the insurgency.

The insurgents, once focused on waging guerrilla war from strongholds in opium-rich provinces like Helmand, are now emerging in a swath of districts to fill a governance vacuum left as foreign troops depart. As a result, millions of Afghans are once again having to adapt to life under Taliban rule.

More local Taliban groups are now functioning as governing entities, administering services for which the state pays, such as education and electricity, and collecting their own taxes from farmers and sometimes protection money from businesses. The growing influence is helping them generate revenue for recruits and spread distrust in Afghanistan’s shaky government.

The Taliban wielded significant control over 8.4 million Afghans—almost a third of the population—at the end of 2016, up from 5 million a year earlier, according to a confidential United Nations report reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. The report showed that the territory over which the insurgents have significant influence or control increased from 30% to 40% of the country over the same period…

Read on.



Tue, 05/09/2017 - 10:42am

Obama focused on getting Osama. He treated our projection of force into Afghanistan as only about getting the author of the attacks on 9-11 and then declared falsely that Al-Qaeda was no more.
In Iraq, once our troops legally backed by the UN found defeated Hussein's military we discovered wide spread deprecation and a people oppressed and left in dire need by Hussein and Baathist long term crimes against humanity. To this day the regressive liberal left is in denial as to the legality of our intervention, and the importance of not finding WMDs, despite over 600 admitted American casualties caused while disposing of Hussein's conventional chemical weapons stocks. They also blame Hussein's deprecation on the USA!
You can still go on line and read the fanatical followers of the Obama policy ideology disparaging the effort to rid the world of Hussein. If only to state the world was better off with Hussein!
There is a legitimate question as to how much can we do?
Actually at great cost we did more than ever credited for in Iraq, through Surge and COIN. Callously tossed aside by either an inept or unconscionable Obama white House.
In Iraq American forces and policies effected a difficult and costly transformation that was simply disparaged by the Obama White House and
regressive liberal socialists who mistake radical Islamist expressions as "revolutionary".
In Afghanistan where the focus was made, to get Osama and Al-Qaeda leadership,
after Obama personally killed Osama, sic, Americans lapsed into a sense that the Taliban need only be contained. What do we care what goes on under the oppressive dictatorships of Hussein and Assad, two tyrants the American left seem to believe are or were more progressive than Mubarak? The useful infidels of the Muslim Brotherhood ask.
The Taliban?
We should have dropped a MOAB during Anaconda. But we wanted "the body", We dropped one on the Islamic State and in the aftermath General Mattis stated that we would not count bodies that is not what we are about? I get not excavating bodies to search for DNC tying up manpower and resources but why deny we dropped the bomb to kill Islamic State fighters who are members of a regime that is in itself a crime against humanity?
Is it one of those boxes we have to check off so as not offend Islamic sensitivities? Lest we appear to be Islamophobic?
Obama's defunct manner of punishing any military spokesman that is critical of Islam or would admit to the existence of radical Islam has had a long term and perverse effect on how we perceive a group cultural identity intent on committing crimes against humanity in the nae of their "religion".
This is like Harry Potter and the culture of not saying he of whom we do not speak. And then acting shocked when some great evil reveals his very real existence immediately followed by denial.
This AM when I read reports that thousands of troops might be considered for deployment to Afghanistan referred to as a "Surge" it made more certain we have not learned from the gap created in leadership by 8 years of Obama's self-imposed denial and the false Islamophobic narrative.
A Surge has to have a tactical or strategic end in mind today it is being used merely to describe any increase in troop deployments. Because any stated goal might be Islamophobic.
It is a major disappointment that in this brief WSJ extract no mention is made of the criminal extent and crimes against humanity the radical Islamist cult otherwise known as the Taliban is.
Despite the extent of the Taliban's crimes against humanity over decades they are still regarded by the American left as an alternative to Kabul. And that American policy should be a policy of containment opposed to punitive military expeditions that may accomplish anything and actually believe something as odious as the Taliban is necessary for "progress" and anything contrary runs the risk of being judged harshly, Islamophobic.
Obama is the former President, he is not a bogeyman, we can discuss openly how failed his pro-Islamists are still. Time we learn from his failed policies and mistakes and stop equating any foreign military action under the pall of Vietnam like Senator Obama often did.