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The People of Afghanistan are winning

By Ambassador Dr. Zia Nezam-Afghan security forces have repeatedly demonstrated courage and determination to defeat terrorist tyranny.  Our forces are tenaciously bringing the battle to the Taliban and their ilk.  Thus, for example, the Taliban-led insurgency has been unable to wrest control of the major part of the national territory, and these extremists do not control Kabul, the major cities, districts, and almost all key transit routes.  Afghanistan is plagued with 15 terrorist groups, respected intelligence analysis indicates.  Of the extremist organizations, the most broadly active and violent are the Taliban and Haqqani networks, followed by Isis insurgents.  All these malevolent entities are now on the defensive.

In May 2018 the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) estimated that the Afghan government controlled 65% of the population.  Insurgents are estimated to exert control over 12% of Afghans. The latter control was in remote, thinly populated areas.  The remaining estimated 23% lived in contested areas.

The bloody threesome, Taliban, Haqqani, and Isis, have been able to commit their independent high-profile attacks in population centers – most recently in Ghazni.  The Taliban is increasingly desperate for media coverage to show the Afghan government as weak and ineffectual.  However, the Taliban gambled and lost in Ghazni.  Rather than relying on lone suicide bombers, the Taliban attempted a military operation.  Afghan security forces were strongly tested, but drove the insurgents out of this provincial capital.  Ghazni was a doubly painful loss for Taliban as it receives foreign support from our neighboring country.

Corroborated intelligence sources point out with surety that Taliban is given safe haven outside Afghanistan.  While Pakistan, for instance, harbors the terrorists, they can recuperate and plan future deadly acts.  However, despite Taliban’s foreign refuges and the withdrawal of nearly 80% of international allied forces, Afghan security forces are winning battles while making the great sacrifices to protect their country.  According to SIGAR’s quarterly report to the US Congress, July 30, 2018: “A bright spot amid 17 years of war in Afghanistan [is that] insurgent control of the country has started to diminish for the first time in nearly two years.”  Afghan and international non-governmental media needs to present more of the facts on the ground that describe the progress of Afghan security forces.

The majority of Afghan population continually supports international military and security assistance that aids our elected government.  The population clearly sees the hard-fought gains of 17 years fighting together against terrorism, repression, tyranny, and deadly chaos.  Greater human rights, especially women’s rights, access to education and health, and a developing economy and infrastructure are hallmarks of progress Afghans do not want to lose.

The renewed strategy of the United States and other Afghanistan allies to exert pressure on regional states who either actively or from fear allow terrorism to be exported to Afghanistan is working. The ever-growing professionalism and fighting skills of our national security forces is evident.

All Afghans who want a peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan need to express our unwavering support.

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