Tension Rises as Taliban Approaches Outskirts of Afghanistan's Cities, but Is It the Beginning of a New Hope?

Tension Rises as Taliban Approaches Outskirts of Afghanistan's Cities, but Is It the Beginning of a New Hope?
Dispatch from Afghanistan (Credit: Hollie McKay)

As the Taliban approach Afghanistan’s cities, ordinary Afghans resign themselves to fate. One regime leaves, another replaces it.

But is everything lost? Or is Afghanistan learning about the hard choices it needs to make in a world after the Yankees have gone home?  I asked these questions in a public policy analysis piece, “Will Arming ‘Public Uprising Forces’ Stop the Taliban’s Advance?”, published in the National Interest.

The key question post -American intervention is, “Which is the lesser of two evils? A potentially fractured country drawn along ethnic lines? Or an Islamic Emirate domineered by the Taliban with close ties to terrorist groups?”

Excepts from the article worth noting include,

The urgency of the moment is because America is abandoning Afghanistan.

And while the United States is only weeks from leaving, now could well be the crucial time for the Afghan government forces—equipped with air power—to set aside internal grievances and go full-force in bolstering these groups.

The emergence of “public uprising” forces is the expression of ordinary Afghans.

The public uprising forces have been purporting to push back the Taliban, but the battle is, to date, an apparent losing one. Multiple local leaders and insiders claim that the losses are not due to a lack of will or skill, but a lack of sufficient equipment and firepower.

The Peace Process may be what’s enabling the Taliban.

“The Peace Process must remain the main priority, but today the Doha process is just serving Taliban’s military advance and their victory,” lamented one source closely connected to the Northern political spectrum. “Our traditional partners and proven US allies in the North desperately need our supports and, they are the only remaining reliable and effective hope. To help them to protect the Republic and our sacrifices is in the national interest of the USA.”

Internal alliances are forming in real-time.

For one, scores of fighters have pledged allegiance to former vice president and Northern Alliance leader, Marshal Abdul Rashid Dostum in the northern provinces. In the key city of Mazar-i-Sharif, which is surrounded by the Taliban and my current location, it’s not the Afghan Forces that are patrolling the city. It’s the young, public uprising forces most visible on the crowded and bustling streets, still teeming with life despite the uncertainty.

I highly recommend policymakers and world leaders read the full article.  Nothing has changed about the reality that within every vacuum, there is new opportunity.


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