Going, Going, Gone?
- The military "geniuses" in the Pentagon and D.C. have no clue about the power of people's wars or guerrilla warfare.
- Maybe these loser generals should re-take classes on the American Revolution, the Boer War and Vietnam.
(New York Times) - Afghanistan was plunged deeper into crisis a day after the Taliban seized the northern city of Kunduz, as the insurgents on Tuesday kept assaulting the reeling Afghan security forces and the government struggled to mount a credible response.
Not only did a promised government counteroffensive on Kunduz not make headway during heavy fighting on Tuesday, but the day ended with yet another aggressive Taliban advance, with insurgents surrounding the airport to which hundreds of Afghan forces and at least as many civilians had retreated, thinking it would be safe.
After more than a day of relative silence as the situation worsened around Kunduz, the American military showed the first signs of increased involvement in what the Pentagon called “a setback,” conducting at least two airstrikes, and reportedly more as attacks continued at the airport late Tuesday.
Beyond the Taliban’s gains in Kunduz, there was evidence that the insurgents were also pushing a broader offensive in northern Afghanistan, officials said. One particular point of concern was Takhar Province, just east of Kunduz, where the insurgents were said to be heavily assaulting military checkpoints and government facilities in several districts over the past two days.
Questions about how thousands of army, police and militia defenders could continue to fare so poorly against a Taliban force that most local and military officials put in the hundreds hung over President Ashraf Ghani’s government and its American allies.
In the hours after Kunduz’s fall, Afghan officials said an overwhelming Afghan Army force was on its way to retake the city. But by the end of the day on Tuesday, only a few hundred had materialized at the airport — a small fraction of the number who had fled the city the day before. Many more traveling by road were said to have been slowed by ambushes and roadside bombs, in another sign of growing Taliban control in Kunduz Province and nearby areas.
|European Pressphoto Agency|
In Kunduz, the city’s limited medical facilities were overwhelmed with the flow of wounded, although the number of dead from the two days of fighting remained unclear. The main trauma center, run by Doctors Without Borders, had received 171 wounded, including 46 children, many of them in critical condition with gunshot wounds.
But the looting of institutions and businesses continued, including of the United Nations regional branch, the Afghan intelligence agency’s provincial office, two radio stations and a number of car dealerships. Even broken-down cars were being towed out of dealerships, residents said. A vault at the central bank’s Kunduz branch was blown up early Tuesday, residents said.
“The Taliban are strolling around freely like this is their home,” said Ghulam Rabbani Rabbani, a member of the Kunduz provincial council, who like many Kunduz officials had retreated to the airport but was in touch with residents. “They took a lot of weapons from the intelligence agency’s office, weapons that were stocked for arming pro-government militias. We fear that there was cash and vehicles also.”
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