Taliban Seize District Near Key Afghan City of Kunduz

City Has Fallen Twice in the Last 18 Months

The Spring thaw is upon Afghanistan, and that means a surge in fighting, as insurgent groups who wintered over in the mountains are more able to move around and get to the front lines. The Taliban is wasting no time with that, seizing the Qala-e Zal District just west of the important northern city of Kunduz.

The Taliban have captured Kunduz twice in the last 18 months, holding it off and on as Afghan reinforcements were ultimately able to push them out. Nationwide, however, the trend is in favor of the Taliban, who holds more territory now than at any time since 2001.

And while the US has tried to downplay that, insisting that the government reliably holds all the big cities, Kunduz has proven an exception, very much a contested area for the Taliban, and one they feel they can take when the timing is right.

This latest push comes as the US is poised to announce a new deployment of thousands of US ground troops into the country to try to reverse the mounting losses. These latest Taliban gains are likely to if anything bolster the Pentagon’s calls for bigger and bigger numbers, since they have offered no options that involve trying to negotiate a peace, or calming the war in any way.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.