Afghan troops have suffered significant losses to the Taliban in recent days, highlighting their country’s security vulnerabilities more than 15 years after the U.S.-led invasion ousted the militant group, as well as President Trump’s reported reluctance to send more troops to the country.
At least 26 Afghan soldiers were killed in the Taliban’s attack Tuesday night on a military base in Khakriz district, which is in the southern Kandahar Province, traditionally a Taliban stronghold. The Taliban said it was now in control of the base, but an Afghan military spokesman said Afghan forces were still present there.
The group’s military victories illustrate that it remains a potent force in Afghanistan, one that has to be reckoned with if there is to be a lasting peace in the country. As Bill Roggio points out in Long War Journal, in recent days the group has pushed the Afghan military out of districts in Paktia, Faryab and Ghor provinces.
“The Taliban is demonstrating that it can sustain operations in all theaters of Afghanistan,” Roggio wrote, pointing out the districts are in different parts of the country.
Indeed, the Taliban seized much of Helmand Province earlier this year, and has also fought the military in Kunduz province. In May, it struck the Shah Wali Kot army post, killing more than a dozen Afghan soldiers, and a month earlier it carried out the deadliest attack on Afghan troops since 2001, when it killed 170 soldiers near Mazar-e-Sharif.