This time of year—mid July—is traditionally the mid-point in the fighting season in Afghanistan – with the main foe being the Taliban. This season, however, things seem to be taking a different tack as commanders in the area are reporting less fighting and violence coming from the Islamic group. No one is absolutely sure why this happening, but there are some guesses being fielded.
Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, remarked that while he is glad to see a decrease in the fighting, he is only cautiously optimistic. He went on to say that one reason for the decrease may be the fact that Afghan military forces have made positive inroads in their battles with the Taliban. He also said, however, that those inroads might turn over time.
His thoughts were echoed by many other senior military officials, as well as some civilian experts. The lull in fighting, some suggest, is only a “pause” as the new leadership of the Taliban settles in. Also, while the Taliban may be taking a break, there are many other factions in the area who are not.
Anthony Cordesman, from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), remarked recently that the country has many serious problems that must be addressed and resolved before peace is possible. He noted that the country is still rife with extreme poverty in some areas, local governance is still lacking in many areas, and that local warlords are still a very big problem. He also mentioned that corruption (at all levels) is still rampant, and that the production of narcotics is becoming a major source of income for rural Afghans.
At least a few of the American commanders in the area believe the decrease in fighting is due, in part, to the recent killing of the Taliban leader, Mullah Mohammed Akhtar Mansour. The new leader, Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada, an Islamic extremist cleric, is almost certainly building a new command leadership, which, when completed, will bring back the levels of fighting seen in past seasons. As this new leader is reported to be somewhat less sophisticated than the last one, the fighting, when it returns, may be more intense, with less hope for any track toward peace negotiations.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.
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