Security officials said Wednesday that 154 Taliban fighters have been killed in northern Kunduz province. As many as 134 others were injured. Security officials also said that among the dead at least 30 were foreigners. Now that NATO/ISAF have formally concluded their combat mission and they are staying around to train and develop Afghan security forces and police, it is now fully in the hands of the country’s 352,000 soldiers and police. Logically with the end combat mission of the international coalition forces, prospect for peace talks with the insurgents must have become promising, but the stubborn and bloodthirsty Taliban are hell-bent on destroying every sign of development and change that took place in the last 14 years. Afghan security forces have made a lot of progress however they still need international support as they continue to develop. In Kunduz, Helmand and elsewhere Afghan security forces demonstrated worth commending defense capabilities however 2014 had been a deadly year for all defense forces—army, paramilitary and police, with around 5,000 death recorded so far. Most of those deaths, or around 3,200, have been policemen, according to ex-EUPOL chief. The European Union Police Mission (EUPOL) funds and trains a police force of 157,000. Earlier there were rumors that Kunduz will fall into the hands of the Taliban, but the fighting between security forces and militants, which has entered its 6th day is now near to end in Imam Sahib, Qala-e-Zal, Dasht-e-Arche, and Gor Tapa districts, which clearly shows the province has been brought under security control. Last year, the Taliban launched the deadliest coordinated attacks in Helmand. The attacks were so much deadliest that on one occasion, police chief of Sangin district, Ahmadullah Anwari said that sometimes up to 200 Taliban attack their checkpoints and if there were no army reinforcements, they would have lost the fight. He said that it shames him to say that they didn’t have enough weapons and equipment, but this was a stark reality. The US, which provides the bulk of NATO troops in this war-ravaged country, has funneled some $61 billion into training of the 350,000-strong security force. For many the end of combat mission is a lynchpin of a plan to exit its longest war, but for some it is an attempt to transfer its war to the government of Afghanistan.
Whatever is the reason, but it’s a stark fact that Taliban have stretched their presence, the methodology has not changed, indicating a lack of insurgent military capacity despite the rise in their attacks, however this phenomena has exposed another issue as well—defense forces are lacking weapons and equipment. Moreover, the Taliban’s strategy is also a demonstration of complete insanity. They send gunmen and suicide bombers to blow up the front wall of a military compound, police stations, or markets where they achieve nothing. This is insanity and this is barbarism. For the US the war might be over, but for Afghans it has entered another phase.