While most of the headlines last month were about the inevitable Taliban victory and the large numbers of districts and border areas the Taliban had seized, the headlines have not been updated recently. In the Afghan press there have been steady reports of ANDSF progress on the battlefield but the news has not migrated over to the Western outlets for some reason.
recent activities in Afghanistan
These are just some of the events left out of the Western press from 18-21 July:
- In Kandahar province the Arghandab district was cleared of Taliban and also 14 Talban were killed as ANDSF pushed the remainder out of Panjwai. Spin Boldak was also cleared of Taliban fighters in a quick operation. During the operations in Kandahar a beloved award wining photojournalist was killed, taken, and mutilated by the Taliban before returning him to his family in India.
- Also, in the South the ANA “liberated Garmsir district of Helmand from Taliban terrorist control.” The ANA killed 36 Taliban terrorists, to include one of their commanders. Another 10 Taliban were wounded.
- Forty Taliban terrorists were killed, including their shadow district governor for Nijrab district in clearing operations by ANDSF with Afghan Air Force in Kapisa province.
- The NDS reported another 75 Taliban insurgents killed near Kabul, including “Qari Badr, the so-called deputy district governor for Surobi district.” “The group’s so-called governor for Kabul province” was also wounded int the operations.
- In the North of Afghanistan in just 24 hours, Sorkh Parsa, Sheikh Ali and Dara-e-Suf Bala districts were cleared of Taliban by the ANDSF. The 209th Corps of the ANA announced that the “Balkh-Samangan highway was now clear and more than 50 Taliban terrorists were killed and wounded” in the operation.
- Out West, President Ghani made a visit to Herat to talk to security leaders and walk the streets speaking to citizens as clearing operations in the province are progressing.
- The Ministry of Defense announced on the 19th that over “233 Taliban terrorists were killed and 88 were wounded as a result of ANDSF operations in Nangarhar, Ghazni, Kandahar, Jowzjan, Sar-e Pol, Faryab, Balkh, Helmand, Takhar & Kunduz provinces during the last 24 hours.” Alos, 15 IEDs were discovered and defused by ANA as well.
- The acting minister of the interior also traveled the country and explained to citizens that, “The National Security Forces have begun their advance and will soon defeat the enemy through a joint and systematic plan and regain territory.”
Fighting Back is Costly
These operations occur as Afghan leaders around the country are calling on the ANDSF to send their already stretched Special Operations and Aviation assets to clear the Taliban from their provinces. While the ANDSF is currently meeting its force generation and equipment maintenance requirements, time will tell how long they can keep up this pace. Afghans I spoke to in the last two weeks seem optimistic of the outcome of these battles for district governance.
The Taliban’s continuation of their war effort to destroy the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has ramped up the death count for civilians this year. The international committee of the Red Cross announced today that in the first six months of 2021, Afghanistan was the deadliest nation in the world for civilians. They have treated over 49,500 war-wounded this year already.
Taliban might be missing the signals
The rocket attack on the presidential palace during televised Eid prayers are surely a sign that the Taliban and their terrorist network do not plan on getting serious in peace talks soon. Although the large number of Taliban casualties from ANDSF clearing operations might change that calculus as Pakistani hospitals continue to fill with Taliban wounded. On top of the ANDSF operations denting Taliban morale, the nation of Turkey is working out final plans to stay in control of securing the Kabul airport and told the Taliban to end their “occupation” of Afghanistan, signaling a shift in tone from NATO’s largest Muslim-nation member.