Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Wednesday, March 22nd, 2023

Assumptions About Talban Advances in the Northern Afghanistan

Since mid-April, when US President Joe Biden announced the end to Afghanistan’s “forever war,” the Taliban has made intensified their attacks on Afghanistan National Security forces and civilians throughout the country. At the same time, Taliban increased its attacks on the Northern Afghanistan. There are contradicting assumptions about intensifying war and violence in the Northern Afghanistan. Here, we would like to discuss the important ones.
Gradual Hand over of Power to Taliban
Some analysts believe the US has promised Taliban that it will force the Afghan
government to hand over the power to the group. However, this would take about two years. During two year Ghani’s tenure would be over and Taliban would have sufficient capacity to take the power.
Based on this strategy, seizing the territories would start from north to south. As a result, Taliban will first capture districts and then on, they capture the cities. The focus of the war will be on non-Pashtun areas since Taliban deem them as their main opposition forces.
According to this strategy, Afghan forces retreat from districts and rural areas to the cities. The retreats will be focused on non-Pashtun areas in order to the people to be forced to fight against Taliban.
According to this assumption Afghan government and Taliban strategies are aligned and both of them seek one goal; paving the way for Taliban to take the power gradually.
US Intestinally Expands War in Northern Afghanistan
According this assumption, US is intestinally widening and extending the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan. The ultimate goal of the US with its current stance in Afghanistan is striving to stretch war into central Asia. If Taliban as a fundamentalist group reach to the borders of the central Asian countries and China, the group and their ally (al-Qaeda) can destabilize the central Asian countries and Russian. At the same time, China will be destabilized by Uigurs.
These observers argue the US started this process several years ago. In 2017, several helicopters supplied goods to the Taliban in Sayad district which was controlled by Taliban.  In the same year Zamir Kabulov, the Russian presidential envoy to Afghanistan had complained to his American counterpart in New York that some helicopters supply goods and weapons from American base in Marmol district of Balkh province to the insurgent group in the areas under their control in the Northern Afghanistan.
During the mentioned time, unarmed Taliban has been moved collectively to the Northern provinces through Salang Road by travel agencies while the Americans were in the picture. Further, the US did not take any serious measures against the Taliban, central Asian fighters and Uzbekistan Islamic movement.
Troop Pullout as a Dramatic Change
The third assumption says the hasty withdrawal of the US and NATO forces from Afghanistan is a dramatic change. Although the Afghan government and the security leadership were in the picture of the troop pullout, managing such huge change is difficult for them. Afghan government and security officials require to take tough decisions and reconsider the war strategy in order to manage the situation. Switching the ANSDF operations from defensive to offensive mode has been one of the main obstacles to face off the Taliban offences. Currently the security forces are in active defensive mode that allows them to take action against the Taliban whenever they attack a security equipment or base. This mode has demoralized the security and prevent them to take any initiatives. As a result, the Afghan National Security Officials has recently announced they would switch their operations to an offensive mode in near future.
As mentioned above, there are different assumptions about Taliban advances across the country, especially in the Northern Afghanistan. Taliban advances has raised concerns at the national, regional and international levels. Although Taliban has captured one third of the districts, ANSDF have retaken many districts from Taliban. This shows that Taliban cannot control the districts and any other main geographical area. Afghan government and security officials will soon decide about switching the operations of ANSDF to offensive mode. Currently, the ANSDF operate in active defensive mode, a mode the Afghan government has considered to convey its good will to Taliban about the Intra-Peace Afghan talks, an issue that Talban are not serious about it.