16 Years Into War, Taliban’s Presence Across Afghanistan Growing

Trump's Escalation Comes Amid Mounting Losses

Earlier this week, President Trump committed to an escalation of the US war in Afghanistan, promising an “honorable” ending to the longest war in American history. Yet 16 years in, the situation on the ground in Afghanistan is getting progressively worse.

For months, officials have confirmed that the Taliban has a bigger presence across the country than at any time since the 2001 US invasion.  The Taliban’s presence isn’t just in some small part of the country either, as they ring the country both north and south, and touch seemingly every important area.

The protracted occupation has aimed to expel the Taliban from all these places before, and “clear and hold” strategies at one point aimed to keep troops everywhere to keep the Taliban returning. Ultimately, however, it required too many troops for the Afghan military to sustain, and the Taliban has steadily cut into their territory.

The US expects to put more troops in the country in the months to come, though exactly how many is not a matter of public record. The Taliban has been taking districts regularly on the round, and the US seems to hope having more troops will slow those losses.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.