Taliban make push in north as NATO moves to beef up south

Sara Carter:

A resurgence of the Taliban and criminal warlords in the northern provinces of Afghanistan is threatening to stretch a U.S.-led coalition thin just as NATO pushes to stabilize southern Afghanistan, officials said.

Taliban insurgents gained control last week of Dahne Ghore district, in northern Baghlan province, for two days. Six Afghan police officers were beheaded in a government building in the district.

"The Taliban controlled the area for two days before NATO could do anything," an Afghan official told The Washington Examiner, on condition that he not be named. "NATO and the [Afghan] government were ashamed of what had happened and wanted to keep it quiet."

...

"To counter the rise in attacks, combined forces continue to push into Taliban safe havens like Bagh-i-Shirkat on the outskirts of the provincial capital Kunduz city," Walczak said. "Warlords, criminal groups, drug smugglers and tribal feuds continue to have negative effects, and an increased insurgent emphasis has resulted in rising attacks since 2009."

As part of the Obama administration's troop increase in Afghanistan, battalions from the 10th Mountain Division will soon be deployed to the northern part of the country, to partner and train Afghan National Security Forces in an effort to hold off the insurgency. The division will work closely with "national police in key districts," NATO officials said.

Afghan and coalition forces have reduced insurgent activity by the establishment of new outposts in the region, Walczak said. In June, a combined forces operation lead to the detainment of Baghlan's chief of finance, who was an expert bomb maker and commander of three insurgent cells in the area. In May, Afghan and coalition troops "removed three successively appointed Taliban provincial shadow governors for Baghlan province," Walczak added.

...
The Taliban are engaging in classic insurgency operations trying to stretch the force to space ratios in other parts of the country in order to take the coming pressure off of their main forces in the Kandahar region where a big offensive is planned later this summer. I suspect we will seem more such operations. We are still dealing with an inadequate force to space ratio in various parts of the country and the Afghans are a long way from being able to step up and take responsibility for any area without support from NATO. That is what makes the deadline for withdrawal idea so bad. The enemy is planning on waiting us out.

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