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Washington Post: An ‘eroding stalemate’ in Afghanistan as Taliban widens its offensive
With winter approaching in Afghanistan, Taliban militants there seem more determined than ever to expand their influence across the country.
On Friday, the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan announced that it was sending Western advisers to Farah province, a rural area just northwest of Helmand Province, to buoy Afghan soldiers there battling the insurgent group.
The newfound Western presence in Farah comes roughly a week after Taliban fighters began making concerted efforts to seize the city of Farah, the capital of the province. Around the same time, the Taliban began offensives near Helmand’s provincial capital of Lashkar Gah and also managed to enter the northern city of Kunduz before being pushed back to the city’s outskirts after more than a week of heavy fighting.
“What we believe we’re seeing right now is the Taliban trying to make an effort before the end of the year to achieve their 2016 strategic objective of capturing a provincial capital,” said Brig. Gen. Charles Cleveland, the spokesman for the U.S. mission in Afghanistan, in an email.
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WNU Editor: This is a sobering indication on how bloody the battle for one Afghan provincial capital has been for the past 10 days .... Afghan Officials: More Than 200 Police, Soldiers Killed (AP). These are the five Afghan provincial capitals that are now under threat of falling .... Taliban threatens 5 provincial capitals in Afghanistan (Long War Journal). Here is one reason (among many) on why the Afghan government is losing this war .... While Afghanistan raises $15B to stop Taliban control, corrupt leaders are selling weapons to them on the side (AP). What's my prediction for the future .... if current trends continue .... the Taliban will be controlling more territory by this time next year, and if the U.S. and the international community withdraw their forces .... a good part of the country will fall to the Taliban, and the rest will be controlled by warlords. As for the civilians .... expect a refugee crisis that will dwarf what is happening right now in Syria.