Taliban Captures Provincial Capital And Assassinates Govt’s Top Media Officer
Amid growing fears from US withdrawal, The Taliban captured an Afghan provincial capital, ambushed, and assassinated the government’s top media officer in Kabul on Friday.
A police spokesman in southern Nimroz province said the capital Zaranj, a major trading hub near the border with Iran, came under the Taliban’s control because “of a lack of reinforcement mechanisms”.
Earlier this week, the Taliban attempted to kill the ministry of defense Bismillah Khan Mohammadi. Though the attempt has failed, at least 8 civilians were killed.
The Taliban continue to puzzle policymakers. Though the US is trying to mend relations with the movement, the Taliban continue to capture major cities, exacerbating the political and social malaise in the country. Indeed, the movement aims, through these attacks, to signal a message to the international community that “this is just the beginning”.
“The Taliban have recognized that all they need to do is keep the pressure on, wait us out, and launch simultaneous offensives around the country,” says David Petraeus, a former US commander in Afghanistan and former head of the CIA who now works as a partner at KKR Global Institute, part of the private equity group. “They have broadly achieved their objectives without the US getting meaningful concessions in return.”
The so-called war on terror prompted a plethora of consequences in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, yet Afghanistan suffered the most. Even before the war on terror, Afghanistan was a place of a power struggle between the ex-Soviet Union and the United States.
To contain the spread of communism in Afghanistan, the US-backed the Mujahidin, an Islamic resistance movement. President Carter provided $500,000 worth of non-lethal assistance to Al- Mujahidin.
Soon after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the civil war erupted. By 1992, political and religious factions fought for authority. Four years later, the Taliban rose to power. They had their own plans: “We want to go to Kabul and announce an Islamic government there,” a member of the movement said. Between 1996 and 2001, the Taliban had full control over the country. They declared Afghanistan an Islamic state, following an extremist interpretation of Islam.
Now the US is withdrawing from the country after it tore the country apart, encouraged the rise of extremists, and terrorized the civilians for more than 20 years. The US’s sudden disinterest in Afghanistan and Iraq says a lot about its foreign policy, which is undoubtedly far from being “normative-driven”.
The only thing that the US could do is to follow a strategy of deterrence. This could happen through encouraging good behavior on their part, and promising severe punishment if they fail to abide by the agreement.