is there, according to numerous sources, that the ISIL fighters are
moving to continue their war. Will events in Afghanistan develop
according to the Syrian scenario? Or is there a chance of avoiding
a new big war?
deterioration of the situation in Afghanistan is evident from the
reports of the US military. In 2015, Kabul and its Western allies
controlled 72% of the administrative districts, and militants -
about 7%. According to the latest data, in August 2017 the ratio of
the territories under control was 57% compared to 13%,
rural areas are under the control of Taliban and ISIL militants, in
various parts of the country. The zones of their influence are
adjacent to the Afghan border, including the neighborhoods with
Turkmenistan and Tajikistan.
controversial control zone has grown by almost one and a half
times in two years, in which both the power structures and
militants are present in different proportions. In 2017, the area
reached 30% of the territory of Afghanistan, population - 8.1
to US data, about 3.7 million people live in areas that are
administered by militants. In these places, the radicals establish
their own laws, appoint shadow authorities, recruit militants and
even collect taxes.
the withdrawal of most of the US troops from the republic in 2014,
militants began to raid regional centers. In 2015 and 2016, the
Taliban twice occupied the third-largest Afghan city of Kunduz.
2015, the authorities had to lead long-running battles, use
artillery and aviation to knock them out of the city quarters.
attack district centers regularly, 5-10 times a year, and try to
keep it up as long as possible. The record now is the case of the
Gorak regional center in Kandahar (south of the country), which the
militants held for almost a year, from November 2016 to October
with the financial support of NATO, contains a huge number of
security forces - more than 350,000 payroll staff, but today this
is not enough to keep control over the situation.
2017, Kabul had to make a significant reduction in the network of
roadblocks and police stations in rural areas, many peripheral
roads are now under the control of the Taliban and ISIL.
Farah and Nimroz (west and south-west of the country), militants
create their own roadblocks and even some kind of analogue to
Herat (West), the Taliban already control more than 20% of local
schools, and the province's official education department said it
was "happy" due to the work that militants are doing in
in many areas is no longer in the hands of the government, because
the police and military are no longer able to protect them.
Militants regularly commit raids, resulting in heavy losses.
the militants created special assault units, "red
detachments," designed to quickly capture fortified objects.
elite units are better armed, equipped with night vision devices,
sometimes using captured American armored cars. Their training is
led by terrorists who previously participated in military
operations in Syria and Iraq.
events of 2017 showed that the training of Afghan militants has
improved significantly, where they can successfully attack even
very "difficult" targets. In April, a small group of
terrorists attacked the base of the 209th Afghan Army Corps (Balkh,
north of the country) during Friday prayer, resulting in the
deaths of, according to various sources, from 140 to 256 military
October, during the attack on the base in Mayvanda (Helmand, south
of the country), the militants managed not only to kill 43
servicemen, but also to seize the premises and gain a lot of
trophies, including weapons and equipment.
overall ratio of losses of militants and law enforcement officers
has increased significantly. Due to technical superiority and
better training, the losses of military used to be 1:2 or 1:3
militants, and in the past year they equaled (1: 1).
army and the police, according to our calculations, lost about 7-9
thousand people killed, militants - 7,5-10 thousand (of which 1,6
thousand - ISIL militants, others - the Taliban).
is evident that the Afghan army is giving way to militants. The
situation is partially stabilized by the transfer of additional
NATO troops to the country, the number of which has reached 14
if the process develops in the same way as before, then it will be
possible to keep the situation under control only at the cost of an
additional transfer of troops, up to 100-120 thousand people.
revival of ISIL
threat of ISIL coming to power in Afghanistan is growing. The
number of militants of this terrorist organization in the region
is, according to various estimates, from 3 to 10 thousand people.
re-grouped after the arrival of several hundred "experts"
who fled from the liberated areas of Syria and Iraq, many of whom
were commanders and seek to create a "new army of the
in Afghanistan has at least three camps for the training of
militants. Each shift trains up to 100 volunteers of all ages. In
the "classroom", extremists work with machine guns,
mortars, attacks on fortified positions and captured armored
the Afghan ISIL was only a more radical version of the Taliban, in
the ranks of which were mostly Afghans and Pakistanis. However, in
2016-2017, a lot of militants from Syria and Iraq, natives of Arab
states, CIS countries and even the EU began to arrive in the
educational level is significantly higher than the average for
Afghans. Among the older generation of Afghans, even
illiteracy is common. In addition, the military training that they
received during the wars in the Middle East makes them more
dangerous than the "classic Taliban."
have become one of the main problems for the Western Coalition.
Their main stronghold of Nangarhar province (southeast) is now
called "the most deadly zone in Afghanistan" by the
official newspaper of the American army "Stars and Stripes".
US Army tried to destroy ISIL in the region by bombing them, using
the GBU-43 (the famous "mother of all bombs"), but this
did not achieve any success in Nangarhar.
increased level of expertise of the militants who fought in Mosul
and Aleppo - may be critical. Such detachments can resist the
Afghan army, even with the support of the US Air Force. This will
allow them to hold the captured territories longer, use captured
weapons more efficiently, including machine guns and mortars.
the Afghan conflict can move from the guerrilla war stage to a
full-scale armed conflict, and ISIL can again try to create its
"quasi-state" in the war-torn territory.
Afghan army and NATO troops have not been able to regain control
over the country for over 16 years, to the contrary, we see a
steady deterioration of the situation.
the leading specialized publication of the United States, Foreign
Affairs, recognized the situation as "dead-end" and
proposed, as the only solution, negotiations with a part of the
problem for the United States is that the negotiating format for
solving the Afghan problem is "occupied" by Moscow. At
the initiative of Russia, in late 2016, negotiations began with the
participation of regional powers, including Afghanistan, China,
India, Pakistan and Iran.
proceeds from the fact that since the problem does not have a
military solution, one must rely on negotiations. The Afghan
"Taliban" maintain high fighting efficiency thanks to
sponsorship from Islamabad.
agreement of regional players, especially India, which has great
influence on Kabul and is a strategic rival of Pakistan, could make
Afghanistan a "neutral territory" and exclude any support
for militants by its closest neighbors.
this would allow the Taliban to sit down at the negotiating table
and enter, perhaps, a coalition government.
of the "Moscow format" have met twice, but both Kabul and
New Delhi declared that dialogue with the armed opposition is
American media in the region launched a real campaign against
Moscow, accusing it of supporting the Taliban. It is not excluded
that Kabul's position on the issue of dialogue was also largely
determined by pressure from Washington.
the sharp deterioration of the military situation during 2017, the
strengthening of ISIL positions and the risk of a repeat "Iraq
scenario" forced regional players to return to the idea of
December 2017, during the negotiations in Oslo, the Russian side
managed to reach an agreement with the representatives of
Afghanistan, the United States and the EU on relaunching the
negotiation process. Kabul gave Moscow a "road map" they
see fit for the peace process, which should be approved by Russia
in mid February 2018.
the negotiation process is launched in 2018, then there is
hope to create a stable alliance of legal political elites of
Afghanistan, and that part of the Taliban that does not support the
idea of expansion under jihadist flags.
joint forces could try, with the general support of all countries
in the region, to eradicate ISIL and other radical groups.
there is a very real risk of deepening the military and political
crisis in Afghanistan and drawing neighboring states into the
conflict, including Russia and China.