To hear NATO officials talk, the vast majority of Afghanistan is essentially “free of violence,” but as the war moves into its 12th year, Taliban fighters are cropping up in areas where they never were before, suggesting in some cases violence is spreading, not contracting.
The central Bamiyan Province, the cultural center of the ethnic Hazara, has long been the “safest province in Afghanistan,” but is now completely dominated by Taliban fighters, with even top provincial officials setting up shop in Kabul for safety.
Locals say that the few roads into Bamiyan are all completely under Taliban control now, meaning that all travel in and out of the province is being done by air.
NATO sought to downplay the situation, however, saying that the province only accounts for about 0.06 percent of all enemy attacks nationwide. This might be more disturbing than comforting, if such a small number of attacks can effectively cut a whole province off from the world.