On February 15, The New York Times published an article entitled, The Taliban Close In on Afghan Cities, Pushing the Country to the Brink. In it, reporters Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Taimoor Shah outline the push that the Taliban have made across Afghanistan. They have taken control of several important sectors of the country, strategically staging themselves in preparation for the May 1 deadline for the U.S. troop withdrawal as outlined in the Afghan Peace Agreement signed last year. They call the Taliban’s offensive “brazen” and say that President Biden has been put into a “dangerous political bind” leaving the country in an “especially precarious state.”
In fact, the Taliban offensive is not brazen, but simply common sense. The Taliban now have the upper hand in a country we’ve struggled to control and revitalize for two decades. But this isn’t news. The Taliban resurgence began in 2014 and has only gotten stronger in the past six years.
The resurgence was actually predicted in June of 2013 when President Obama began his new strategy and the generals did nothing.
In 2013, the Afghans controlled over 80 percent of the rural areas, and casualties were at an all-time low. The bottom-up Counter-Insurgency (COIN) strategy was working. Assessments from experts at RAND and advisors in the Special Operations Joint Task Force, SOJTF-A, strongly recommended not changing the strategy. The Taliban were degraded, disrupted, and neutralized. They admitted they had no answer for the Village Stability Operations (VSO) and Afghan Local Police (ALP) strategy.