Afghanistan’s government is struggling to maintain its grip on power after President Donald Trump’s decision to accelerate US troop withdrawal from the war-torn nation emboldened the Taliban and other extremists groups.
The United Nations has noted a dramatic surge in violence since Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani’s government and the Taliban began peace talks in September, ranging from attacks on Afghan army bases to attempts to capture key cities including Kandahar.
Terrorists have launched assaults on Kabul University and other educational centres, killing dozens of students and on Saturday, unknown assailants fired a deadly barrage of rockets that struck residential areas in the capital.
Trump’s decision to drawdown US troops sooner,
especially without any reciprocity from the Taliban, gives extremists a free hand to try and gain control over the country by violent means, according to Michael Kugelman, senior associate for South Asia at the Wilson Center in Washington. Meanwhile, expecting a surge in violence, many Afghans are fleeing the nation.
“The prospects of civil war increase when the US troop presence is no more,” Kugelman said, adding that the absence of American air power opens up the possibility of the insurgent group making a push into cities. “Once the Taliban starts taking urban territory, it will be easier to gain more political power, and from that point it’s easier to seize power on the whole.”
Some of the recent violence has been blamed on the Taliban, who have ignored Ghani’s warnings about using the attacks to gain leverage in the peace talks.
Afghanistan’s National Security Adviser, Hamdullah Mohib, warned that the surging violence and the American departure could result in “civil war.”