News / Asia

Hundreds of Taliban Fighters Battle Afghan Forces Near Kabul

Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks during the Independence Day ceremony in Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 19, 2014.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks during the Independence Day ceremony in Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 19, 2014.
Reuters

As many as 700 heavily armed Taliban insurgents are battling Afghan security forces in Logar, a key province near the capital Kabul, local officials said on Tuesday, in a test of the Afghan military's strength as foreign forces pull out of the country.

Militants have this summer mounted increasingly intensive assaults across several provinces, often involving hundreds of fighters, as the country braces to stand on its own feet militarily for the first time in nearly 13 years.

“There are some 700 of them and they are fighting Afghan forces for territorial control and they have also brought with them makeshift mobile (health) clinics,” Niaz Mohammad Amiri, the provincial governor of Logar province, told Reuters by telephone.

The Taliban have dug-in in Logar, which lies about an hour's drive south of Kabul, and nearby Wardak province to the west, in recent years. They have used the provinces - gateways to the capital - as launch pads for hit-and-run attacks and suicide bombings on Kabul.

The main roads into the capital are all tightly controlled, but the militants have still been able to breach the checkpoints and staged dozens of attacks, killing scores of civilians and soldiers in the city of about five million this year.

Abdul Hakim Esaaqzai, the police chief of Logar province, said the insurgents, armed with heavy machine guns, were fighting Afghan forces from residential areas in Charkh district.

“We are being extra careful not to cause any civilian casualties. We have enough forces to deal with it,” Esaaqzai said.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, said the militants were battling Afghan forces from all sides to overrun the district. “The area is under siege and we have already taken over many security outposts and killed many Afghan forces,” he told Reuters by telephone.

The fighting in Logar is a grim reminder of the insecurity plaguing Afghanistan as the foreign combat troops wind down their military operations ahead a deadline to leave the country by the end of the year.

Afghanistan's security arrangements beyond 2014 are unclear, as Kabul and Washington have yet to sign a bilateral security agreement designed to keep a small force of American soldiers in Afghanistan next year and into 2016.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has refused to sign the agreement, although the two men vying to replace him have vowed to implement it immediately upon taking office. However, four months after going to the polls, a winner in the presidential poll is still not clear.

Taliban challenge

The International Crisis Group said in a report earlier this year that the number of Islamist insurgent attacks had increased by 15-20 percent in 2013 from a year earlier.

The insurgents' success, however, has been limited. They have yet to capture an entire province, and the government says strategic assets remain broadly under its control.

Nevertheless, the mounting intensity of the Taliban's assaults poses an increasingly serious challenge to local security forces that have long relied on NATO support from the air.

With less and less U.S. air cover, Taliban fighters have changed tactics and now attack Afghan military posts in larger numbers with the aim of taking and holding ground, a shift from the hit-and-run strikes with posses of gunmen, explosives and suicide bombers.

“The Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) have the lead for security of the nation. They are trained, capable, and prepared to face any challenge,” said Major Paul Greenberg, a public affairs officer at ISAF Joint Command.

“ISAF will continue to back up the ANSF and provide support, to include aviation assets upon request of the ANSF,” he added.

In this year's summer offensive, the Taliban appears to have mostly focused on gaining ground in strategic parts of the country, like border crossings or highways that facilitate the export of opium, the financial lifeblood of their insurgency.

Afghan officials say uncertainty in Kabul over the outcome of this year's presidential election to choose Karzai's successor has added to the vulnerability of the security forces.

Two months have passed since the run-off round of the election was held, but a winner has yet to emerge due to accusations of mass fraud and rivals Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani have both claimed victory. 

You May Like

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Not Again from: Canada
August 19, 2014 9:40 PM
Sad to see tha the Afghan forces do not have the capability to destroy the Taliban, once the Taliban start concentrating forces. The other very negative issue is the opium trade, it has not been disrupted, thus the Taliban continue to garner resources from this drug trade.
The Afghan forces need to develop better strategies and essentially outflank the Taliban; given the very rough/steep territory, the Afghan forces should be able to predict the operational path of the Taliban. It is clear that Afghan forces will need to be better capable of using long range artillery to confront/defeat the Taliban; an Air force is out of question, because it would take years to enable Afghan forces to use it effectively, and more difficult even, to maintain it. Let us hope that Afghan forces succeed against the Taliban.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leadersi
X
Aru Pande
April 01, 2015 9:09 PM
The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leaders

The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Buhari: Nigeria Has ‘Embraced Democracy’

Nigeria woke up to a new president-elect Wednesday, Muhammadu Buhari. But people say democracy is the real winner as the country embarks on its first peaceful handover of power since the end of military rule in 1999. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Abuja.
Video

Video Tiny Camera Sees Inside Blood Vessels

Ahead of any surgical procedure, doctors try to learn as much as possible about the state of the organs they plan to operate on. A new camera developed in the Netherlands can now make that easier - giving surgeons an incredibly detailed look inside blood vessels, all the way to the patient’s heart. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Latin American Groups Seek Fans at Texas Music Festival

Latin American music groups played all over Austin, Texas, during the recent South by Southwest festival, and some made fans out of locals as well as people from around the world who had come to hear music. Such exposure can boost such groups' image back home. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Stockton Community, Police, Work to Improve Relations

Relations are tense between minority communities and police departments around the United States following police shootings that have generated widely-publicized protests. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Stockton, California, where police and community groups are working toward solutions, with backing from Washington.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More