Kabul throws white flag? Position of forces and situation in Afghanistan as of August 3
The Afghan government is ready to negotiate with the Taliban movement banned in Russia. Afghan Foreign Minister Mohammad Hanif Atmar said in an interview with Izvestia that the government in Kabul agrees to share power with the Taliban and include them in the government, but under certain conditions.
There are not many conditions, Atmar explained. The Taliban need to agree with the free expression of the will of citizens and stop their contacts with other terrorist organizations like Al-Qaeda (banned in the Russian Federation).
“(Taliban - ed.) Are actively working with them (al-Qaeda - ed.) Now, and there is no reason why they will not do the same in the future. And it will be a huge mistake to think that Afghanistan, led by the Taliban, will not be a safe haven for international terrorists and a threat to the countries around it. It will definitely be, "the minister said.
The Taliban do not reciprocate, because they feel the weakness of the enemy. Their representative, Zabiullah Mujahid, threatened to "finish off" Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. Loud speeches of the president, in his opinion, are only an attempt to "cope with their fears." Neither blaming the Taliban nor declaring war can prolong Ghani's political life, the Taliban said. "The nation has decided to persecute and bring to justice the national traitors," Mujahid added.
By offering diplomacy, Ghani himself knows that there will be no peace talks until the situation on the battlefield changes in his favor, and he speaks about this openly. On the ground, the situation is getting worse and worse for Kabul every day. The Taliban launched an attack on the capitals of three provinces - Lashkar Gah, Kandahar and Herat. They need Kandahar as a temporary capital, and Lashkargah is located at the intersection of trade routes from Kandahar to Herat, in Helmand province, where the bulk of Afghan heroin is grown. It was in Helmand that the fiercest battles between the Taliban and the US Armed Forces once took place. Two days ago, gunmen attacked the runway at Kandahar Airport, which plays a key role in providing logistical support to government forces.
After Lashkar Gah, according to Western media estimates, the Taliban may take Herat. They already control the road from Herat to the local airport. If any of these cities falls, then the Taliban will be able to take the first of 34 provincial capitals. This will be a huge reputational loss for the Ghani government. To date, according to statistics from the Long War Journal, the Taliban control 223 counties in Afghanistan, the government - 68, and fighting continues for 116. 17 of 34 provincial capitals are under Taliban attacks.
The Ghani government blames the United States for its defeat. The Americans are striking the Taliban from the air, but not with the same force as before the withdrawal of the main air force group. There are no Americans at all on earth. The Afghan president says the rapid withdrawal of US troops has escalated violence in the country. We will remind, in March, Washington agreed with the Taliban on the evacuation of the US Armed Forces from Afghanistan, provided that the militants do not attack them and the start of inter-Afghan negotiations. The withdrawal is successfully coming to an end on August 31, but the Taliban will not compromise with the Ghani government. Speaking to parliament on August 2, Ghani said America's hasty peace process "not only failed to bring peace, but also raised doubts and ambiguity" among Afghans. "The Taliban do not believe in a lasting or just peace," he added.
Meanwhile, Afghanistan is plunging into humanitarian disaster. Thousands of citizens are fleeing from Herat, Kandahar and Lashkar Gakh, fearing the accession of the Taliban regime. Hundreds of people turn to the local MFC to get a passport. The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan has documented 5,183 civilian casualties (1,659 killed and 3,524 injured) since early 2021, up 47% over the same period in 2020. Since the withdrawal of foreign troops and the Taliban advance since January, some 294,000 people have fled their homes, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said on July 21. The total number of internally displaced persons has exceeded 3.5. million. This is every 10th Afghan. There are not enough medicines in the cities, pharmacies are closed, telecommunication lines are destroyed, and hospitals do not have time to receive the wounded, the Guardian reports.
The Taliban have already taken over a TV station in Helmand province. They shoot the captured Afghan army soldiers and hang them on poles. According to the NGO Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), the Taliban have killed at least 40 people since July 16 in Spin Boldak County (border with Pakistan) in Kandahar province. Taliban kill residents who welcomed the return of Spin-Boldak to Afghan forces. The Taliban executed 22 Afghan soldiers who tried to surrender. Vajma Frock, a prominent Afghan women's equality activist, accused the Taliban of stealing food from women, killing them and forcibly recruiting 11-year-old boys into the army.
Commenting on reports that Kabul is ready for negotiations, Georgy Asatryan, an expert at the Valdai International Discussion Club, noted that such calls do not speak of a desperate situation in the government of Ashraf Ghani.
"This does not mean that Kabul has thrown a white flag. Since 2017, negotiations have been underway between the Taliban and the official Kabul. Once a month, such statements are made. There is nothing sensational here. Both are ready to talk. The Taliban are also ready to talk every three months. declare that they offer to sit down at the negotiating table and sign a truce. This is a usual Afghan trade policy, nothing new, "he said in an interview with Vestnik Kavkaza.
In general, in his opinion, the situation in Afghanistan is stalemate: "The Taliban look more preferable on the battlefield, but they are also unable to crush Kabul. The situation is stalemate, neither side is able to completely defeat the other. And in this regard, a deadlock situation arises. It is unclear whether to negotiate or not to negotiate. "
Time will tell how the next Afghan epic will end. So far, Russia is preparing for new challenges on its southern borders. Military exercises with Uzbekistan are currently underway, and joint Russian-Uzbek-Tajik military exercises will begin on August 5. Russia is using a powerful group of 1,800 troops and 420 pieces of military equipment.