Following the successful Brussels Summit for Afghanistan that secured $15.2 billion in funding till 2020, Afghan forces are still trying to clear out pockets of resistance in Kunduz city after an attack by Taliban forces on Monday that briefly saw the city square collapse to the resurgent militant group.
Local reports indicate that Taliban forces have attacked Bazarack-i-Dawra of Kunduz city, a potential launch point for an assault on the Kunduz airport. Gen. Qasim Jungalbagh, provincial police chief of Kunduz claimed that the Taliban still controlled residential areas in northern Kunduz.
On Thursday, reports claimed Taliban shadow governor, Mullah Abdul Salam, was killed in clashes with Afghan security forces and according to the spokesperson for the Afghan Ministry of Interior Affairs, Sediq Sediqqi, Afghan airstrikes managed to kill Taliban commander Qari Halim and in a separate strike the Taliban shadow governor for Takhar.
In Helmand, conflicting reports still appear to indicate that Khanshin and Nawa are still contested between government forces and the Taliban, despite reports from the Resolute Support mission that Afghan security forces had retaken the district. According to a Local Afghan National Army official, security forces vacated Nawa for strategic purposes, “They left the district to be properly organized and avoid casualties.” he said.
On Thursday the provincial military council for Lashkar Gah had declared a state of emergency for all of southern Helmand. Local journalists have reported clashes with Taliban forces just outside the city. Bilal Sarwary, a local journalist reporting on Afghanistan, posted to twitter Afghan police intercepting Taliban radio communications in Bolan, a village located just outside of the provincial capital.
Furthermore, Taliban militants launched a coordinated attack on a military outpost in Maiwand, Kandahar, killing 3 Afghan soldiers, 20 of the attackers were killed in the assault. The increase in fighting in Kandahar has closed the Kandahar-Kunduz highway, as Taliban forces edge closer to Qalat city, the provincial capital of Zabul.
In Farah, Taliban fighters have blocked the main roads entering the capital, Farah city. Fighting has been reported near the city for the past eleven days, as Taliban militant plan a coordinated assault on the provincial capital.
Another provincial capital in Baghlan province is also under threat as Tolo News has reported that Taliban militants have attacked the city of Pul-e-Khumri.
Resolute Support continues to maintain that Afghan forces are capable of defending its population centers. Currently, major cities are still under Afghan control, how long they can hold out is another question. Major cities are currently surrounded and under assault by the Taliban forces, it may be time for NATO and U.S. forces to review their Afghan strategy. The Afghan government cannot survive or operate effectively under a siege mentality.