A US watchdog report shows that Afghan security forces are shrinking and gaps in security are growing as the military loses more territory to the Taliban.
The extremely mountainous terrain of Afghanistan makes winning a war by any foreign power extremely difficult and US military officials have called the war a stalemate as after 17 years of involvement by the US, NATO and Afghanistan Security Forces.
Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction the watchdog in question reported that only 54% of districts are under the control of the government of Afghanistan. 12% of the territory is highly contested and it is up for grabs between the different warring factions, and 34% of the territory is solidly under control by the Taliban.
6,823 bombs on the Taliban were dropped by the US, and the Taliban still has been able to gain more and more territory to the point the government in Kabul is dangerously close to having less than half of the territory of Afghanistan under its control.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has taken to the global stage especially at Davos to let the world know of the extensive sacrifices made by the security forces of Afghanistan with 45,000 having been killed on the battlefield. Losses like what President Ghani mentioned of over 10% of forces have been a big explainer of why the Kabul government has been unable to keep up the necessary security forces requirements.
US commanders and intelligence officials continue to claim that, despite the gains in the territory by the Taliban, the US has given the government in Kabul the ability to defend its own people.
President Trump is expected to announce further intentions about the war in Afghanistan at the State of Union February 5th after which regional actors, the Afghan government, and the Taliban will seek further clarity about the US position on the war.
Different officials have given different signals. President Trump and Ambassador Khalilzad seek to build on the momentum towards a peace agreement, and the old guard takes a more militaristic stance. U.S. officials like DNI Dan Coats don’t want the US to leave and say that Afghan forces need more support pushing for ‘more of the same’ that has, so far, failed to end the war.