Panic is rising in a major city in northern Afghanistan as the Taliban steps up attacks. The Times of London reports that Taliban forces are pushing towards the city of Kunduz, prompting the country’s government to send troops to the area:
Heavy fighting was reported in five of the seven districts around Kunduz after attacks began on Monday. Analysts described the Taliban attack as “significant and dangerous” and estimated the number of insurgents involved to be in the high hundreds or low thousands.
The attack on the city of about 300,000 is the opening salvo of what is expected to be a bloody summer in Afghanistan, where government forces face the insurgents with only limited support from Nato aircraft or troops.
High profile Taliban gains and the atrocities that are likely to follow (stonings, beheadings, and worse) will not help the Administration persuade people of its foreign policy brilliance this summer, nor will the Iranians fail to note what the mess in Afghanistan says about the strength of American resolve. If, in the end, Obama was just going to withdraw from Afghanistan, he could have done that back in 2009. And if the Taliban is reasserting its hold on the country, a lot of veterans and the families of a lot of dead Americans will be asking what the sacrifices were for.
As WRM wrote on Sunday, if it helps to grasp the scale of the debacle, imagine what we’d be saying if a Republican President were in office as the country fell slipped back into the hands of the Taliban.