World Taliban surge an ‘existential crisis’ for Afghan gov’t: Watchdog
Taliban Wants Afghan President Removed, New Government Where Women Have More Rights
Although the Taliban said they would not monopolize power in the region, they insist that a peace deal will not be reached until a new government is negotiated. Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen, who is also a member of the group's negotiating team, is promising that under the new government, women will be allowed to work, go to school and participate in politics—rights that were denied when the Taliban enforced a harsh version of Islam last time the group ruled the country.
The Afghan government faces an “existential crisis” after the Taliban doubled its attacks following the February 2020 deal with the United States, a watchdog report says.
The report (), published on Thursday, said Taliban attacks on Afghan targets surged from 6,700 in the three months up to the Doha agreement to 13,242 in the September-November 2020 period.
Attacks have stayed above 10,000 in each subsequent three-month period, according to the report by the US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).
UN warns of 'unprecedented' Afghan civilian deaths from Taliban offensives
The United Nations warned Monday that Afghanistan could see the highest number of civilian deaths in more than a decade if the Taliban's offensives across the country are not halted. Violence has surged since early May when the insurgents cranked up operations to coincide with a final withdrawal of US-led foreign forces. In a report released Monday documenting civilian casualties for the first half of 2021, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said it expected figures to touch their highest single-year levels since the mission began reporting over a decade ago.
While the rise in attacks has long been clear, data was previously available to demonstrate how intense the rebels’ offensive had become.
The US agreed to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan with the expectation that the Taliban would negotiate a peace deal with the Kabul government.
Since then, the Taliban-government talks have stalled but the US has steadily pulled out troops to a level of only several hundred now, with an August 31 deadline for full withdrawal.
The SIGAR report makes clear that the Doha agreement, instead of propelling Taliban-Kabul talks, unleashed a Taliban offensive that caught government forces unprepared and increased the number of civilian deaths.
Over the period of January to March of 2020, there were 510 civilian deaths and 799 injuries, the report said, quoting data from the US-NATO joint force in Afghanistan.
Taliban surge poses 'existential crisis': US watchdog
The Afghan government faces an "existential crisis" after the Taliban doubled their attacks following the February 2020 US deal with the insurgents, a watchdog report said Thursday. "The overall trend is clearly unfavorable to the Afghan government, which could face an existential crisis if it isn't addressed and reversed," said the inspector general, John Sopko. He said the report offered a sobering picture that contrasted with "the pervasiveness of overoptimism" that characterized US-led efforts to rebuild and strengthen Afghanistan and the cost of hundreds of billions of dollars to the US government.
After that the numbers surged, hitting a high of 1,058 deaths and 1,959 injured in the third quarter of 2020 and continuing at high levels.
The latest data, for April and May this year, showed 705 civilian deaths and 1,330 casualties, the SIGAR report said.
“The overall trend is clearly unfavourable to the Afghan government, which could face an existential crisis if it isn’t addressed and reversed,” said the inspector general, John Sopko.
He said the report offered a sobering picture that contrasted with “the pervasiveness of overoptimism” that characterised US-led efforts to rebuild and strengthen Afghanistan and the cost of hundreds of billions of dollars to the US government.
“The news coming out of Afghanistan this quarter has been bleak,” the report said.
Afghan air force overstretched
Faced by a new Taliban offensive, the report said, the Afghan government security force “appeared surprised and unready, and is now on its backfoot”.
Taliban admits to killing Afghan comic, to try alleged killers
Nazar Mohammad’s body was found in Kandahar province after a video showed he was abused by two gunmen in a car.A video of two men slapping and abusing Nazar Mohammad, better known as Khasha Zwan, spread widely on social media. He was later killed, shot multiple times. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid acknowledged that the two men were Taliban.
“Particularly concerning was the speed and ease with which the Taliban seemingly wrested control of districts in Afghanistan’s northern provinces, once a bastion of anti-Taliban sentiment.”
The Afghan air force, considered to be one of the few remaining advantages the government in Kabul has in the fight against the Taliban, is increasingly overstretched, said the watchdog.
All Afghan aircraft were operating at 25 percent over their recommended scheduled maintenance intervals, with five out of seven aircraft experiencing decreases in readiness in June alone, says the SIGAR report.
The agency said that, for example, the fleet of AC-208 light attack combat aircraft had maintained 93-per-cent readiness between April and May, but that the indicator decreased to 63 percent in June.
SIGAR added that all Afghan aircraft and crew were “overtasked” due to increased requests for air support, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and resupply missions.
The decrease in readiness coincides with an increase in offensives by the Taliban and a near-complete US exit from the war-torn country.
Taliban capture third Afghanistan capital in as many days .
The Taliban have seized a third capital in Afghanistan in as many days as the group continues to make aggressive and significant gains in the wake of the U.S. military withdrawal. Taliban insurgents seized the city of Kunduz in Northern Afghanistan on Sunday. Kunduz is the third provincial capital to fall to the Taliban in three days, but it is the first major city taken since the Taliban started an aggressive military offensive in May. The loss of Kunduz is a stark development for the Afghan government due to its significant military and political contributions.