According to Stratfor, the Taliban is rapidly advancing its territorial gains in Afghanistan and is overshadowing the Afghan government’s battlefield victories in different parts of the country. The Stratfor reports,
“[The] Taliban now operates in more territories in Afghanistan than it has in 2001.”
At the crux of both the U.S. and Afghan governments is the Helmand Province, a crucial area in the southern region that was subjected to heavy airstrikes by the U.S. to control the influx of Taliban militants. The Taliban, who already control about 80 percent of the region, are on the move towards Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand Province; insurgents control nearly all of Helmand Province and with the Taliban ‘making peace’ with Islamic State in an effort for both terror groups to focus on their primary objectives and not on each other. The primary goal for the Taliban is freeing up its fighters from fighting Islamic State to push back Afghan troops in the Nangarhar Province.
The Taliban and its recent territorial gains are just the tip of the spear in this perpetual war on terror; a Taliban breakaway faction, Mahaaz-e-Dadullah, have now entered the picture and announced it will attack all ‘foreign fighters’ to take revenge for the death of its leader, Mullah Mansoor Dadullah, who was killed in 2015.
“Perhaps more concerning, though, are the Taliban’s attempts to rebuild their presence in the north. The threat the group poses to Afghanistan’s crucial ring road, which circles the country, is rising, particularly in Baghlan province, where the Taliban are trying to cut off a portion of the road to restrict Kabul’s access to the northern provinces.” via Stratfor report.
Adding additional complexities for the United States is the bilateral security agreement the U.S. signed with Afghanistan in 2014, that will ensure the U.S. will provide troops and aid money to the embattled country for another 10 years. The Taliban are gaining the upper hand and the Afghan government cannot keep up with the level of rapid advancement this terror group is demonstrating, which ultimately will require more troops and more money to stop the hemorrhaging and attempt to cauterize the Taliban ‘wound.’