Afghan Government Loses Control of Its Territory

Despite $900 Billion Spent and 2,400 U.S. Lives Lost, Afghanistan Continues to Deteriorate - Hit & Run : Reason.com

The latest quarterly report from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) underlines the heavy pressure on the government in Kabul even as the United States has opened initial contacts with the Taliban on possible peace talks.

The Afghan Government hardly controls 55.5 percent of its territory, the lowest level in three years, the United States, whose troops are deployed here since the invasion in 2001, warned on Thursday.

Of the remaining districts, SIGAR assessed that 49 were under insurgent control or influence (12 percent).

The situation looks slightly better when viewed through population control: 65 percent of Afghans live in areas controlled by Kabul, according to SIGAR.

"The number of contested districts-controlled or influenced by neither the Afghan government nor the insurgency-increased by 10 since last quarter to 132 districts, meaning that 32.4% of Afghanistan's districts are now contested", SIGAR added.

Bill Roggio, an Afghanistan expert and senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told AFP such a scenario is unlikely.

Some 353 casualties (149 dead and 204 injured) were the result of airstrikes, up from 232 last year and coinciding with a sharp increase in the number of US airstrikes this year.

At least seven Taliban militants were killed during a clash with the Afghan National Police (ANP) forces in southern Kandahar province of Afghanistan.

In a bulleted list of "lessons learned", the SIGAR report notes that "the US government greatly overestimated its ability to build and reform government institutions in Afghanistan" and USA aid-far from reducing violence or strengthening Afghan governance-often "exacerbated conflicts, enabled corruption, and bolstered support for insurgents".

He escaped unhurt, but US Brigadier General Jeffrey Smiley was among 13 people wounded in the shooting, which the Taliban said had targeted Miller and Raziq.

The figures suggest President Donald Trump's strategy for Afghanistan, unveiled 14 months ago, is not resolving the USA stalemate with the Taliban.

Data for casualties suffered by Afghan security forces are not available to the public after Washington past year agreed to Kabul's request to classify the numbers.

SIGAR further said in its report that data also showed that the Afghan forces "made minimal or no progress in pressuring the Taliban over the quarter".

This comes after the US Defense Secretary James Mattis said Tuesday that Afghan forces suffered 1,000 casualties in August and September.

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