Small Wars Journal

Afghanistan: Conflict Metrics 2000-2018

Fri, 06/22/2018 - 12:38pm

Afghanistan: Conflict Metrics 2000-2018 by Anthony H. Cordesman - Center for Strategic & International Studies

The recent fighting in Afghanistan has shown all too clearly that the Taliban was sincere in announcing in late April that it was rejecting participation in a peace progress and starting a new spring offensive. It has only had limited success so far, but has taken more districts. In spite of a brief Ramadan ceasefire, peace seems no closer now than it has at any point in the past.

One key question is whether the Taliban can make major new gains over the course of 2018. So far, the reporting is mixed. Official reporting by the Government and the ISAF and US command seems overly-optimistic, but Taliban statements also seem overly-ambitious. Equally serious questions also exist over how much of Afghan territory is disputed, controlled by the government, or controlled by the Taliban and other rebels.

Furthermore, there are serious, long-standing serious differences and uncertainties over how to measure the pace of the fighting and each side's level of influence and control. Throughout seventeen years of war, the Afghan government and ISAF have tended to exaggerate their success, "spinning" their news releases to favor their own side. The Taliban has often made its own exaggerated claims, trying to spin the war in the opposite direction…

Read on.



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