Mufti Yusuf Moosagie
Afghanistan is at a turning moment in the war. The Taliban have been able to gain territories in far-flung, remote and rural areas. However, they are at the gates of every major city except Kabul and Jalalabad.
Radio Islam International spoke to Ibraheem Thurial Bahiss, a long-time observer of Afghanistan politics.
Ibraheem said: “There could be a feeling among the Taliban that they are on the verge of gaining power. The Taliban are exuding a level of confidence to at least come out on top militarily, if not succeed in a complete victory.”
Taliban have made progress in rural areas, but there may be resistance in urban centres. Taliban have encountered resistance in Herat. Many people were outside their homes and on their balconies shouting “Allahu Akbar” and supporting Ismail Khan and the government forces. There have been similar reports coming out of Kabul.
The Taliban is likely to face a new generation who have not previously experienced living under the Taliban in urban cities. This segment of the population may display more resistance to the Taliban.
When asked about the US’s current role and presence in Afghanistan, Ibraheem said the US has militarily re-engaged in many urban centres.
The US air force has been active in many of these places. In Herat, they carried out aerial bombings. In Lashkar Gah, there have also been reports of bombings.
The US withdrawal is not complete yet. The deadline that US president Biden had given is September the 11th. Post this date, it remains to be seen whether the US will continue to engage.
Biden said there would be no intervention unless there is a “Vital National Security Threat”, which has been defined as terrorist groups becoming active in Afghanistan and posing a threat to the US and its allies. Other than that, they will not be sending troops to Afghanistan. They will also continue to support the Afghanistan government financially, though.
Whether they will continue to support the Afghan forces with over horizon aircraft to bomb Taliban positions or advancing Taliban forces, Ibraheem says there seems to be ambiguity.
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