News

Taliban Control Spreads in Afghanistan

Multimedia

Audio

Eight years after the terror strike on the United States, which prompted an invasion of Afghanistan to oust the Taliban, there are indications that the insurgents are continuing to widen their reach inside the country. Meanwhile, some high-ranking British and American officials are expressing mounting concern about Afghanistan's fraud-tainted election process.

A respected international think tank has released a new map showing, for the first time, the Taliban have a "permanent presence" in 80 percent of Afghanistan.  "Permanent presence" in a province is defined as one or more insurgent attacks - lethal and non-lethal - per week.

Alexander Jackson is a policy analyst at the International Council on Security and Development in London.

"We're now seeing Taliban control across the country. And one of the most significant things that we're seeing in this latest map is the increased level of Taliban presence in the north of the country. Provinces such as Kunduz and Balkh, which previously were relatively stable, are now seeing very high levels of Taliban activity," he said.

And that has resulted in a drastic increase of insurgent attacks against Afghan government, international and civilian targets in those areas.
The report's release comes at a sensitive time.

The Obama administration is debating whether to deepen its commitment to the war in Afghanistan, which is becoming increasingly unpopular in the United States.

The current government in Kabul appears to be facing a more immediate threat, however, not from the Taliban but due to concerns about its own credibility.

Rising concerns are being voiced by both Afghans and the international community about how the August 20th presidential election was carried out. Partial - but disputed - results show incumbent President Hamid Karzai with a comfortable lead.

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband has told BBC Television that Afghanistan needs a credible government that can actually lead that country in a serious way. Miliband is expressing concerns about the serious fraud allegations stemming from last month's election. He says "free and fair" would not be an accurate description of the balloting.
 
But the top U.S. diplomat for Afghanistan has told the British broadcaster a rerun of the tainted election is "out of the question."  Richard Holbrooke, in a BBC interview, said a drawn-out process would benefit the Taliban and al-Qaida.

Full preliminary election tabulations are expected to be released Saturday by the country's government-appointed Independent Election Commission. But another entity, the U.N.-supervised Election Complaints Commission, is ordering a partial recount and says it is investigating hundreds of serious fraud allegations.

President Karzai has more than 50 percent of the vote - enough to avoid a run-off election against challenger Abdullah Abdullah. But the former foreign minister says he will not accept the results, alleging favoritism in the process for the incumbent and the inclusion of tainted votes amid widespread reports of wholesale ballot box stuffing by Karzai supporters.

In the eastern part of the country, two more soldiers of the  NATO-led International Security Assistance Force have been killed. This year has become the deadliest for the foreign troops since the 2001 ouster of the Taliban. 



This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs