This Afghan conflict update provides the reader with recent news articles and stories about the long running war in Afghanistan. The surprise but very short ceasefire raised hopes for the Afghan population but this was quickly dashed when the Taliban resumed their offensive against the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF). The Afghan security forces suffered a number of setbacks over the past few weeks – with district centers falling to the Taliban and a large number of ANDSF personnel killed or captured. Commentary on why the U.S. is losing the war in Afghanistan and how minerals contribute to the insurgency and increase corruption within the Afghan government and security institutions.
70 Afghan Police Captured. The Afghan Taliban took over some outposts in Jalrez district, Wardak province (just south of Kabul) this past week. Over 70 Afghan policemen were captured or killed. The captured police are believed to belong to the Afghan Public Protection Force (APPF). (Long War Journal, June 24, 2018).
Task Force Southwest Gets Reapers. General Atomics has been awarded a multi-million dollar contract to provide ISR support to the Marines in Helmand province. The $39 million deal will support the Marines with unarmed MQ-9 Reaper drones. (Defence Aviation Post, June 23, 2018).
Governance and Politics
Atta Noor Defends Record. The former governor of Balkh province is interviewed by Gandhara Blog about his defiance of President Ashraf Ghani, his reluctance to step down from his position as governor in early 2018, negotiations with the Taliban, local militias, ISIS in northern Afghanistan, corruption, the changing nature of political alliances in Afghanistan, and a possible run for President during the 2019 election. Read “Afghan Leader Defends Record, Talks Political Gains”, Gandhara, June 11, 2018.
Disruption of Elections by Taliban. Insurgents are attacking voter registration sites in an attempt to curb government efforts to register voters for the 2018 and 2019 elections. (Stars & Stripes, June 22, 2018).
Mattis is Encouraged. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis remarked that the three-day ceasefire observed by the ANDSF and the Taliban was an encouraging sign that perhaps there may be some substantive talks on peace in the future. (Radio Free Europe, June 24, 2018).
“Edge of Opportunity” For Peace. NATO officials are hoping that the Eid al-Fitr ceasefire observed by the ANDSF and the Taliban will lead to further progress on peace talks in the future. Read more in this rather optimistic article by the U.S. Defense Media Activity. (DoD, June 20, 2018).
Why We Are Losing. Brigadier General (Retired) Don Bolduc explains why the United States is not doing so well in the 17-year long Afghan conflict. He provides nine reasons why. Read “The Real Reasons We’re Losing the Afghanistan War”, The Daily Beast, June 22, 2018.
Minerals Fuel Insurgency and Corruption. Admiral (Retired) James Stavridis informs us about how mining materials (like talc) help fund the insurgents and provide a means for corrupt government and security officials to line their pockets with cash. Read “Baby Powder Is the Secret Weapon in the Afghanistan War”, Bloomberg, June 21, 2018.
Photo: Afghan Soldier holds Afghan flag. Photo by DoD, May 27, 2018.