A new report released today by the Washington Examiner cites US and Afghan officials as confirming that the Taliban’s presence in northern Afghanistan has seen a “steady increase” through the past year.
Afghanistan’s northern reaches have long been the domain of the Northern Alliance, and even before the 2001 US invasion, when the Taliban was the accepted government of the nation, the north was only nominally under their control, and often contested.
Now the Taliban is actually a major player in the region, with Pakistani-trained imams reportedly supporting them. With NATO’s troops largely committed to fighting in the south, the north may be seen as easy territory for many.
Though there has been considerable combat in Northern Afghanistan as well. officials have continued to downplay the region, and a number of the NATO allies which have sought to avoid major combat have been put in charge of those provinces, meaning that in many cases the Taliban see little challenge from the occupation forces.