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Afghanistan: Comment: NightWatch has completed one of its occasional reviews of the level of violence in Afghanistan. Reporting from Afghan government sources since March 2013 shows that the major policy initiatives and resource commitments by of the Allied countries have made little lasting impact on the overall progression of the conflict.What is worse is that the withdrawal of well-equipped forces has created a false-positive echo that suggests security is improving because there are fewer non-Afghan casualties. Afghan reports indicate the fight got worse in September.

A table of monthly security incidents follows.

Month Number of incidents

Mar 167

Apr 1145

May 1363

June 1317

July 1466

Aug 1205

Sep to 26 Sep 1724

The numbers show a normal pattern of fighting for a combat season that began in April. The normality of the numbers after 12 years of modern Western warfare is significant. The Taliban have absorbed the best efforts that modern Allied countries could afford to deliver and still surged in September 2013.

The areas of fighting are significant. Most security incidents and attacks of all kinds occur in the 12 or 13 Pashtun heartland provinces of eastern, southeastern and southern Afghanistan. The Taliban have never been an insurgency. They have always been the fighting force of a Pashtun tribal rebellion. The long term pattern of the fighting shows that.

The Tajik and Uzbek tribes in the north and the Hazara tribe in the central highlands have provided little to no support to the Taliban. However, as modern Western forces have retrenched to limit casualties during their withdrawal, the Taliban have made deals with local authorities and made gains.

The strength of the Taliban effort after more than a decade is a testament to the durability of the Pashtun uprising. Personal experiences and anecdotes notwithstanding, the numbers show Pashtuns support the Taliban against the outside-backed government in Kabul.

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