The Taliban takes an Afghan city, Kunduz. What’s going in Afghanistan?
US-trained Iraqi troops fell like a house of cards when ISIS hit the country. Fled Mosul. Syrian fighters trained to oppose Bashar al-Assad? A bust. This week, Afghan troops trained by the US have fallen before the Taliban in Afghanistan’s key northern city of Kunduz. It’s the first major city the Taliban has taken since American forces ran them out 14 years ago. And suddenly, people are talking about the potential collapse of the US-backed central government. About losing Afghanistan, after all that. This hour On Point, to win or lose, to stay or fight or go, in Afghanistan.
-- Tom Ashbrook
Stephen Biddle, senior fellow for defense policy at the Council on Foreign Relations. Professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University.
Thomas Johnson, professor and director of the program for culture and conflict studies at the Naval Postgraduate School.
From Tom’s Reading List
The Wall Street Journal: Afghan Forces Battle Taliban for Control of Kunduz — "The Taliban retained control of swaths of Kunduz city on Tuesday, even as Afghan forces launched an aggressive counteroffensive to recapture the city with the assistance of the U.S. military. The Taliban had seized the city of Kunduz a day earlier, its first since the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001."
NPR News: U.S. Airstrike Seeks To Bolster Afghans In Fight To Retake City From Taliban — "The U.S. and NAO officially ended their combat mission to Afghanistan last year. But the American military were back in action this morning, after the fall of the strategically important Kunduz to the Taliban. A spokesman said the U.S. carried out an airstrike to eliminate a threat to Afghan security forces. Those government forces withdrew to the city's outlying airport, when the Taliban stormed into the city from several directions yesterday, seizing key government buildings and freeing hundreds of prisoners from the city jail."
Foreign Affairs: Is Peace Possible in Afghanistan? — "With the announcement of Mullah Omar’s death, momentum toward peace came to a halt. The meeting set for July 31 was postponed indefinitely. Then Omar’s successor, Mullah Akhtar Mohammed Mansour, rejected negotiations altogether and reissued the call for jihad against the United States and the Afghan government. Nearly a week after that, over the course of four days, three bombings wrecked Kabul, killing and injuring nearly 400 Afghans. The Taliban claimed responsibility. The question now is whether the window for peace talks is closed."
This program aired on September 30, 2015.