Taliban Carving Out Territory

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by Rateb Noori

TOLO news

13 September 2014

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The Taliban have launched an offensive over the past few months that the Ministry of Defense (MoD) officials have suggested is primarily geared toward taking over territory.

As recent as Saturday, the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) were engaged in fights with the Taliban in at least four provinces. Groups of militants attacked parts of the Janikhel district of Paktia province and Mangawi district of Kunar province on Saturday morning, but were suppressed by security forces. Insurgents also attacked a few police check posts in Kohmard district of Bamiyan province, but these attacks were also thwarted.

In an interview with TOLOnews, Gen. Zahir Azimi, the spokesman for the MoD, said that the Taliban are deliberately pursuing territorial gains in order to solidify their presence.

“Considering the current political conditions and the resources that the Taliban bring from abroad, Taliban are doing their best to increase their attacks so they can have a specific geography within Afghanistan and use that geography as a training center during war and as a discussions center during times of peace,” Gen. Azimi said.

According to the MoD, what has prompted the recent Taliban offensive are support from the Pakistani military, foreign intelligence backing the departure of 15,000 western troops from the battlefield and the absence of air support for Afghan forces operations. The failure to sign the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) and the protracted election process are also considered to be contributing factors.

“The intensity of conflict is higher than the time when foreign troops were accompanying the ANSF,” Azimi told TOLOnews. “Today, what foreign troops used to do with all their equipment and facilities, the ANSF is doing alone.”

Previously, Bismillah Khan Mohammadi, the Minister of Defense, had blamed the tumultuous presidential election for the country’s deteriorating security. These comments have led to some anxiety among members of Parliament.

“We hope that political talks will lead to an agreement between the candidates soon so that the challenges facing the security forces are resolved,” MP Mirdad Nejrabi said.

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http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16358-azimi-taliban-carving-out-territory

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