first published on September 30, 2015 by Will
After a sustained Taliban offensive, Kunduz, the capital of Baghlan province, has now become the first major city to fall to the Taliban since the 2001 invasion by U.S. forces.
Afghani military units were forced into retreat on Monday, and regrouped just outside the city at the Kunduz Airport. Special Forces from the U.S. and other unnamed nations were sent in to bolster the threatened Afghan units.
Early this morning, those Special Forces troops became directly engaged by hostile forces, and an airstrike was called on Taliban positions to neutralize the immediate threat. At least three airstrikes have been carried out in and around the northern Afghan city since Monday, and it is believed that two key insurgent leaders were killed by the strikes.
U.S. military officials expect the estimated 500 Taliban fighters to be pushed out of the city soon, as they say the offensive, and taking of the city, was more about publicity than actually holding ground.
The Afghan military’s inability to hold the city raises serious questions about the feasibility of President Obama’s 2016 coalition withdrawal deadline. The number of Taliban attacks have have risen around the nation, including attacks inside the nation’s capital of Kabul. The Afghinstan/Pakistan branch of ISIS known as the “Islamic State Khorasan Province” has also been growing rapidly throughout the nation, recruiting members from at least 25 of the 34 provinces. Additionally, the veteran insurgent group Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) has sworn allegiance to the Islamic State and is also taking ground from Afghan government forces in the north.