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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs