Report: Afghan government control lowest yet

In its latest quarterly report to Congress (PDF), the official US watchdog for Afghan reconstruction finds that the security situation is at an all-time low since monitoring began. Since the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) began tracking district control in 2015 Afghan government-controlled or "influenced" districts have declined 16% to 55.5%. In the same period, areas of insurgent control or influence rose 5.5% while "contested" districts increased 11%. As of late July, the US military assessed that the Kabul government controls or influences 226 of Afghanistan's 407 districts, while the Taliban controls/influences 49. The remaining 132 districts are identified as "contested." Since the prior quarterly report, Operation Resolute Support downgraded eight districts from "government influenced" to "contested." SIGAR said that Afghanistan's security forces "made minimal or no progress in pressuring the Taliban" from July 1 to Sept. 30 , the period covered in the report. (Long War Journal, Stars & Stripes, Nov. 1)

Photo via Stars & Stripes

  1. More terror in Afghanistan

    The death toll from a suicide bombing targeting a security forces convoy outside Kabul has reached 12, with eight civilians among those killed in the latest attack claimed by the Taliban in the area of Afghanistan's capital. (Al Jazeera)

    On Nov. 20, an attacker detonated explosives at wedding hall where hundreds of religious figures marked Prophet Muhammad's birthday, killing some 50. There was no claim of responsibility in that attack. (Al Jazeera)

    Celebrations of the Prophet's birthday have been repeatedly targeted by jihadists, from Pakistan to Libya

  2. Trump announces Afghanistan draw-down

    The Trump administration has ordered the military to start withdrawing roughly 7,000 troops from Afghanistan in the coming months—about half the number the United States has in the country now. (NYT, Dec. 20)

  3. More terror in Afghanistan

    The death toll in hours-long coordinated attack on a government building in the Afghan capital has risen to at least 43 people, making it one of the deadliest assaults on Kabul this year. Hundreds of people were trapped Dec. 24  on a site where the Ministry of Public Works and other offices are located when gunmen stormed the building and began moving from floor to floor targeting employees. (Al Jazeera)

  4. Trump guilty of ‘Unlawful Command Influence’?

    President Trump declared that a decorated special operations officer was being unfairly investigated and prosecuted for an alleged murder of an Afghan civilian. This statement may have constituted an unlawful "command influence" under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, arges international law expert David M. Crane. (Jurist)