The Taliban guerrilla offensive to take control of Afghanistan intensifies as the withdrawal of US troops culminates. The attacks have already reached the same capital, seat of the legitimate government, where so far this week there have been two bombings, one next to the residence of the Minister of Defense and the other before the national security agency. In addition, Islamists are about to take control of a major provincial capital in the south of the country. Everything seems to confirm an assessment by US intelligence a month ago, leaked to the US media, that the Afghan government could fall in half a year after the end of the withdrawal.
Wednesday occurred in the capital, Accept, an explosion near the headquarters of the National Security Directorate. Two civilians and a uniformed man were injured. Afghanistan is a country with constant attacks, and it is difficult to clarify the exact authorship of each one of them.
The Taliban, however, yes they have claimed the authorship of a previous attack in Kabul, against the residence of the Minister of Defense, Bismillah Khan Mohammadi, in which eight people died and another 20 were seriously injured. On that first attack of the week in Kabul, the main spokesman for the Taliban, Zabihullah Mujahid, said yesterday, as reported by the Reuters agency: «This attack is the beginning of a response operation to those high officials of the Kabul administration, who give orders to bomb civilian houses, public infrastructure, force people to fleeing from home and other crimes.
Until now, it was rare for the Islamist guerrillas to attack the capital, but the departure of US troops has changed that calculation. The bombardment is also a clear violation of agreements achieved in a negotiation round in Qatar that earned the previous US administration, led by Donald Trump, to order a full withdrawal by last May. Biden delayed it until 11 of September, 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks against New York and Washington, but the White House estimates that by the end of August the withdrawal will be over.
Advances in the south
And if the situation in Kabul is worrying for the legitimate government of Afghanistan, in the provinces it is even worse. There the Taliban carry months of offensive, as the US government itself has admitted.
In Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital of Helmand, insurgents already control a dozen districts, and the Afghan armed forces have launched a bombing campaign with US support, hoping to contain that advance. If Lashkar Gah falls, it will be the first provincial capital fully in the hands of the insurgent guerrillas.
On June 25, Biden received the legitimate Afghan president at the White House, Ashraf Ghani, and his eternal political rival, Abdullah Abdullah, who holds the position of High Commissioner for National Reconciliation. The objective was to promote national unity, but absent from that dialogue supervised by the White House, was the insurgency. Both Ghani and Abdullah visited the Capitol before meeting Biden and met with influential lawmakers.
To withdraw, Trump agreed to negotiate with the same Islamic guerrillas to whom George Bush He vowed to overthrow, while insurgent groups escalated the assassinations of civilian group leaders and pro-democracy activists. In 2019, the former president even invited some Taliban emissaries to Camp David, the presidential weekend residence in Maryland, on the eve of an anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The visit was canceled at the last minute due to an attack in which a US soldier was killed. Even so, the negotiations took place elsewhere, and the peace agreement took place just over a year ago.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism