Afghanistan Sguardi e Analisi

Afghanistan Sguardi e Analisi

Afghanistan: Sguardi e analisi" è un progetto aperto finalizzato a comprendere e discutere le ragioni - e le possibili soluzioni - dei conflitti afghani.

martedì 11 ottobre 2016

‘New’ combat role for foreign troops in Afghanistan (CeMiSS OSS 1/2016)

by Claudio Bertolotti

download the full Volume pages 101-102 CeMiSS OSS 1/2016
ISBN 978-88-99468-15-6
One year has passed since the beginning of US combat Operation ‘Freedom’s Sentinel’ and NATO-led 'Resolute Support’ (RS) mission, focused on contrasting to ‘terrorism’ and enhancing the Afghan institutional capacity with a view to stability and security.
From a military point of view, US troops in Afghanistan will partially shift their role after the end of main combat operations. This partial switch in the Afghan strategy was decided by President Obama – whom mandate as President is at the end – in September but implemented in December. While with the previous plans, which were limited to training, assisting and advising the Afghan troops and tackling the remnants of Al-Qaeda, the US military will now be allowed to conduct fight operations if Armed Opposition Groups (included the Taliban) directly threaten the United States and NATO Coalition forces (‘Resolute Support’ mission) or provide direct support to Al-Qaeda or other groups (with implicit reference to the so-called ‘Islamic state’ - IS/Daesh).
On the political front, and according to the report titled ‘Enhancing Security and Stability in Afghanistan’ submitted by the Defense Department to the US Congress, the relationship between Afghanistan and Pakistan remains a critical factor for enhancing security and stability in Afghanistan. The document reports that representatives from both Afghanistan and Pakistan have made efforts to improve relations regarding mutual security but there was modest improvement in the relationship, while tensions have increased over the last semester, due of increasing violence in Afghanistan (especially in urban areas, in particular Kabul) and cross-border skirmishing between Afghan and Pakistan Security Forces. 
The Taliban insurgency continues to haunt the country 
On the one hand the territorial expansion of the Taliban, exposed the inefficiency of the Afghanistan security forces. On the other, proved insurgency’s capacity to expand beyond the rural strongholds.
The conquest of the provincial capital of Kunduz at the end of last September was the first Taliban success since US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.
In general terms, the recent Taliban military offensive could be interpreted as an attempt demonstrating the superiority of the new leader, mullah Akhtar Mansour, over other Taliban factions who separated following the mullah Omar’s death; dynamics which are signal of an internal growing struggle for power. Following the end of the ISAF mission and the consequent decreasing in foreign military presence and efforts in Afghanistan, on the one hand, seems to be drifting towards chaos. On the other, the Afghan military has been modelled into a defensive force unable to react and conduct offensive operations unless US military support.
Furthermore, the security situation resulting from the expansion of the Taliban is now exacerbated by the emergence of IS/Daesh. A combination of factors, both internal and external, which are defining a new dynamic scenario where, in the north and south, the Taliban are conducting large-scale operational attacks, bringing urban areas and entire districts under their control, while in the east (Nangarhar province), IS/Daesh is gaining momentum launching efficacious attacks on the Afghan forces.
Taliban expansion and IS/Daesh growing activities underline the difficulty of the Afghan forces on the battlefield; a further threat, according to a recent UN report, is represented by the fact that IS/Daesh has recruited new members in 25 of Afghanistan's 34 provinces and is continuing to grow in the war torn-country. As a possible consequence, the violent confrontation between the Taliban and IS/Daesh may hold back the latter from repeating its breakthroughs of Syraq in Afghanistan.
The internal struggle for power within the Taliban groups could be a possible factor of weakness which the IS/Daesh could exploit to gain strategic advantages.

 download the full Volume pages 101-102 CeMiSS OSS 1/2016

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