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Remote war and public air


9th November 2017 - Quoted by Paul Rogers - Open Democracy

Afghanistan in 2016 saw 11,489 of its civilians killed in armed conflict, according to international observers. This was the highest number since external recording started in 2009. This year is expected to be at least as bad. The fighting season from May-October was particularly intense, with substantial losses among Afghan security personnel.

In short, there is no end in sight to the United States-led war in Afghanistan, even as its seventeenth year arrives. In fact, the Taliban and other armed opposition groups (AOGs) appear to be gaining ground. The Taliban has taken back control of most of Helmand province, whose great value includes being the centre of opium-poppy cultivation. At most around 65% of the country is estimated to be nominally in government hands.

The Taliban and AOGs, it is often said or assumed, rarely show themselves in large numbers because of the risk of air-attack. That is simply not the case. A filmed parade of fighters and equipment in western Afghanistan is one example of confidence, as reported by the Long War Journal

“Hundreds of Taliban fighters in the western province of Farah paraded their vehicles and then stood in formation for a lengthy period of time, without fear of being targeted by Afghan or Coalition forces, to listen to an official give a speech recently. The Taliban continues to be able to operate openly in nearly all areas of the country” (see Bill Roggio, "Taliban fighters mass in western Afghan province", Long War Journal, 30 October 2017).

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Tags

afghanistan, long-war-journal, sunni-jihadism, taliban