The vast majority of the US combat brigade arriving in Afghanistan next month will reportedly be deployed in the provinces south of Kabul. The Taliban has seen growing influence in the area, setting up a “shadow government” complete with its own court system.
Making his yearly statement today, Taliban leader Mullah Omar urged Western forces to take a “golden opportunity” and announce an exit strategy, warning that the already growing insurgency would spiral even further out of control next year, cautioning that “your current casualties of hundreds will jack up in to the thousands.”
US officials have described the situation in these provinces as one of “competitive state-building.” The Taliban controls most of the region’s roads and the Afghan government’s officials are seen as corrupt and ineffective. The addition of 4,000 US troops to the region may well do something about the first problem, but would seem to do little to address the growing lack of faith in President Hamid Karzai and his officials.