Strikes in Afghanistan by Taliban insurgents, who are aligned with the Islamic State, have been on the back burner because of the Obama administration’s preoccupation with domestic terrorism and the coalition fighting ISIS in Syria and Iraq. On December 28, a suicide bombing near the international airport at Kabul claimed the life of at least one persons besides the suicide bomber and injured 13 more. 
 
The suicide bombing near Kabul came two weeks after an extraordinary assault by the Taliban on the capital city and just a week after another suicide bomber took the lives of six U.S. troops and an Afghani interpreter near the Bagram air base.
 
According to Washington Post reporter Sudarsan Raghavan, high-level sources in Afghanistan and the U.S. defense establishment are privately issuing grim concerns over Taliban successes. Raghavan reported that the Taliban control or have a significant presence in 30 percent of districts in Afghanistan: more than at any time since 2001. The Taliban has grown increasingly well-equipped and sophisticated. As of September 2015, Afghanistan has had 7,000 police and military killed in the fighting this year, while also sustain 12,000 wounded. This represents an increase of 26 percent over the total sustained in 2014.
 
An intercepted transcript of an October 2015 meeting of the Afghan National Security Council revealed concerns over whether local government entities can resist the Taliban. The meeting underscored the Afghani forces’ “lack of discipline” while the Afghans admitted that the government has neglected its own soldiers and police. The commander of U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan, Gen. John F. Campbell also participated in the meeting. According to the December 28 Washington Post article, Campbell admitted that under his command U.S. were guilty of barely holding the line in Helmand province.
 
So far, the strategic Helmand province remains in the hands of the coalition forces aligned with the Afghan government. U.S. Marines and British army units secured the province in 2012. This year, U.S. special forces have been increasingly sent into the fight to help Afghan forces. Since the beginning of November, U.S. forces have sustained four wounded.

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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