Taliban Attacks In Kabul Aim To Grab Global Attention: Mattis

May 02, 2018, 03:01
Taliban Attacks In Kabul Aim To Grab Global Attention: Mattis

In November, Army Gen. John Nicholson, the top United States commander in Afghanistan, called President Trump?s new Afghan strategy a "game changer" that he said put the Afghan government forces?on a path to a win. The authorised strength of the ANDSF is 334,000 personnel. These figures represent a sharp decline in strength from the same period previous year: "the ANA saw a 4,818-person decrease, and the ANP a 23,210-person decrease, for a total of 35,999 fewer personnel in January 2018 compared to January 2017", according to SIGAR.

As the Pentagon asserts that Afghan troops and US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces are making steady progress in the 16.5-year-old Afghanistan war, a United States watchdog on Tuesday warned that the Taliban and other insurgent groups are gaining control over increasing numbers of the Afghan population and the strength of local security forces has declined sharply.

A double suicide blast in Kabul killed 25 people, including AFP photographer Shah Marai and at least eight other journalists.

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The attacks, a week after 60 people were killed as they waited at a voter registration center in the city, underlined mounting insecurity despite repeated government pledges to tighten defenses, Reuters reported.

The report also notes that in the two months between December 15, 2017 to February 15, 2018, the United Nations "recorded an average of 55.9 security incidents per day - almost four incidents per day higher than the same period two years ago".

"We are extremely concerned about our safety and security", said Farida Nekzad, chairperson of Afghanistan Female Journalists Association.

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Asked what his goal in Afghanistan was in the next year, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told a Congressional hearing he wanted "a more capable Afghan force, between their military and their police (and) the violence levels going down".

"This is the normal stuff by people who can not win at the ballot box, so they turn to bombs", Mattis said when asked about a day of bloodshed in Afghanistan that left dozens dead, including many children and journalists.

"While Afghan forces are stronger now than they were a decade ago, they continue to struggle in a big way".

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"Through killing, they (insurgent groups) want to disrupt the process of democracy in Afghanistan", said deputy minister of information and culture Sayed Fazel Aqa Sancharaki.