Six Afghans were killed in a blast on Monday in Kapisa province, the second lethal attack in less than two weeks, which Afghan specialist Joshua Foust attributed to France’s decision to expedite its withdrawal of troops.
After four French soldiers were killed by a suicide bomber on June 9th, French president Francois Hollande declared that the drawdown would begin next month – a decision which caused much consternation amongst NATO allies who have urged France to stay and fight until 2014.
Foust, who is also a correspondent for The Atlantic, warned in a PBS column last week that the “early French withdrawal from Kapisa will create a security vacuum just outside of Kabul.” The Afghan expert reminded readers of his prediction today in Registan.net in an article entitled, "How France Lost in Afghanistan."
The Los Angeles Times reported that insurgents have made a point of stepping up attacks in designated “transition” areas like Kapisa. The transfer of security to Afghan forces is a cornerstone of the Western exit strategy yet the Taliban and the affiliated Haqqani network seem bent on disrupting the handoff.
Foust also made clear that Kabul itself will face more violence because the “ring of steel” that surrounds the city “has been broken so many times that few have faith in the capital’s safety anymore.” There is no doubt he has more intelligence and a better understanding of Afghanistan than most, so attacks on Kabul just might be imminent.
Monday’s assault via a remote-controlled bomb came on the heels of U.S. military officials claiming the insurgency was divided and losing strength.
Some critics wonder if areas like Kapisa will ever be stable - with or without NATO. After over a decade of occupation the Taliban are stronger than ever in terms of both numbers and territorial control and, most importantly, have helped sabotage the international coalition’s efforts to win the “hearts and minds” of the Afghan population.
Meanwhile, according to Khaama Press, 42 Taliban militants were killed by Afghan security forces over the weekend within a 24-hour timeframe. Seven military operations were conducted in Nangarhar, Laghman, Balkh, Kandahar, Helmand, Khost and Ghazni provinces.
A Taliban spokesperson vehemently denied the estimates, which were released by Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry on Sunday.
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