US Cedes De Facto Control Over East Afghan Province to Taliban

Handful of Troops Left to Protect Governor

by Jason Ditz, October 28, 2009

Following an all-out assault by several hundred insurgents on two US outposts in Nuristan earlier this month, the US quickly abandoned both sites.

The Pentagon maintains that they had been planning to abandon the bases at any rate, and that it was only a coincidence they were attacked just a few days before the move. Two other US posts in Nuristan has been attacked last year, and were also abandoned.

Those two outposts were America’s last in the area, and this has meant that the eastern province has only a handful of US troops now, protecting the governor, and that Nuristan Province is now under the de facto control of a Taliban faction run by Qari Rahman.

Nuristan lies along the border with Pakistan’s tiny Bajaur Agency, which the US launched a rare drone attack against late last week. Militants linked to Rahman, having effectively secured Nuristan, say they have their sights set on Bajaur, and the US strike was likely a last ditch American effort to stave off that eventuality, the last thing Pakistan needs after starting a major offensive on the other side of the tribal areas under intense US cajoling.

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