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Afghanistan On The Rise? - Grand Central Times - Dateline February 26th 2020

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Afghanistan on the Rise?

The Grand Central Times - Dateline February 26th 2020

 

 

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4th ANA Mechanized Division Clearing Charikar with Close Air Support from US AH-6 Little Birds

 

Its been nearly five months since the last major update on Afghanistan. Due to the extremely troubled history of Afghanistan its difficult to be anything other than hesitant about apparent good news or improved stability. But after five months of watching and waiting, Afghanistan, at least for right now, appears to be on the rise. 

 

NATO Specialists have continued to focus their efforts on the recruitment and training pipeline for the ANA and now more recently ANP as well. The success of the "New ANA's" 3rd Brigade in July seems to have clearly indicated to the Pentagon the direction forward for the region. The US lead effort to screen recruits for substance abuse and to ensure effective training have only grown more effective in recent months. Sources indicate that there has been an apparent drop in the "recruitable population" due to the countries general problems with substance abuse, but the recruits that are passing through the process are becoming part of very effective combat units. 

 

Large offensives spearheaded by these new forces in central and eastern Afghanistan through December and January have been wildly successful. Taliban forces north of the A77 roadway, in territory they had fiercely pushed the ANA out of in June, have suffered heavy losses and been pushed back by the New ANA. The Afghan government is making progress, but still working to recover from the blow struck by a chemical weapon attack in Kabul on voting day a year and a half ago. Elections last year were suspended due to the heavy fighting and severe losses by the ANA, but while there has been no official announcement yet, its likely that voting will resume this year in September in an attempt to restore some stability and legitimacy to the Afghan government. In the meantime coalition forces will likely spend much of their time and energy focused on their success with the New ANA; Taking territory and restoring security in advance of the democratic elections.

 

 

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US Rangers Fighting in Northern Afghanistan in support of the Northern Alliance

 

The Northern Alliance has continued their war against the Taliban in the north taking large swaths of ground from the Taliban in late August and early September. Conventional US forces have deployed to the region and are assisting Northern Alliance forces in their combat offensives though there still has been no official statement from the Pentagon regarding their long term relationship with the Northern Alliance. Notably the NA have established themselves as an independent state from Afghanistan in the North, though no one has publicly acknowledged them as a separate country. The US support of their military offensives has proven to be effective against the Taliban but means the Pentagon will have to make some interesting decisions regarding the governance of the region. The bad track record of the Afghan government and ANA, despite their recent success, have caused many to look at the Northern Alliance as the way forward for the country. Others think the Northern Alliance needs to be consolidated into the official Afghan state, though such an action would likely not be done voluntarily by the Northern Alliance.

 

Whatever the way forward for Afghanistan's northern provinces, one thing is clear: The Taliban have suffered major blows militarily and are struggling to recover from the combined US-led offensives from the New ANA and Northern Alliance. The reported infighting they experienced last year has certainly played a major role in their inability to pose a significant threat in recent months, but once they get their feet back under them how effective are we likely to see them become?

 

For the first time in recent history the Taliban seems to be solidly on the back foot with the effectiveness of the Afghan military looking up. The biggest concern now, however, seems to be what will happen between Afghanistan and the Northern Alliance. Will this lead to further bloodshed in the country which has become a graveyard of empires? Or will it result in a forced concession of territory with the US attempting to keep the peace? Elections are still unannounced, but the time between now and September is sure to bring more victory for the New ANA, greater stability and the hope that this election might be conducted un-hindered by foreign adversaries, particularly now that Iran is firmly engaged with problems of their own making.

 

 

Alan White - The Grand Central Times
*This news report is a fictional work created to support the 3d MRB ARMA gameplay

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