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Taliban attack on US general shows Trump’s Afghanistan strategy failing

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173rd airborne heads to fight the Taliban out of FOB Bermel, Afghanistan.
US
soldiers of 173rd airborne combat team head out to fight Taliban
forces at Forward Operating Base Bermel in Paktika province,
Afghanistan, in November 2007.

Rafiq
Maqbool/AP Photo


  • The top US and NATO commander in Afghanistan on Thursday

    narrowly escaped a bold, deadly insider attack
    the Taliban
    claimed responsibility for. 
  • The Taliban said Gen. Scott Miller was one of the targets
    of the attack in addition to the country’s powerful police
    chief, but
    the Pentagon denies this
    .
  • The Trump administration downplaying the significance of
    the attack, but it’s another sign the US is losing the
    war. 

Gen. Scott Miller, the top US and NATO commander in
Afghanistan, on Thursday
narrowly escaped a bold, deadly insider attack
the Taliban
claimed responsibility for. 

The attack took place in Kandahar, and led to the death
of Gen. Abdul Raziq, a powerful Afghan police
chief.

Several other Afghan police and officials were killed or
wounded, and three Americans were wounded in the incident as
well. 

The assailant was reportedly killed in
the firefight. 

The attack highlights just how insecure Afghanistan is, and
doesn’t bode well for its upcoming national
elections. 

It was an astonishing moment in a conflict that recently entered
its 18th year, and perhaps the most embarrassing piece of
evidence yet
the US is badly losing the war
.

The Taliban hoped to kill a US general to get America to leave
Afghanistan

The Taliban said Miller was one of the targets of the attack in
addition to Raziq, but
the Pentagon denies this
.

A Taliban commander
told NBC News
if it had been successful in killing Miller,
who emerged from the attack unscathed, that President Donald
Trump would’ve withdrawn the roughly 15,000 troops stationed in
Afghanistan. The Taliban still feels the attack was a “major
success” due to the death of Raziq. 

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Friday described the loss of
Raziq, whom the Taliban attempted to kill dozens of times, as the
tragic loss of a patriot.” But Mattis also said the attack
hasn’t made him less confident in the ability of Afghan security
forces to take on the Taliban. 

Despite the Pentagon’s efforts to downplay the significant of
this attack, it’s a sign of how emboldened the Taliban has become
via major gains over the past year or so. 

The war has reached its deadliest point in years as the Taliban
gains ground

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in July
claimed Trump’s strategy in Afghanistan is working
, and he
suggested pressure from the US military and its allies was
pushing the Taliban toward a peace process. But the reality is
much different. 

Thursday’s attack came just one day after a Taliban suicide
bomber targeted a NATO convoy close to Kabul, the Afghan capital,

killing two civilians and injuring five Czech
troops
.

At the moment, the Taliban controls or contests roughly half of
all the country’s districts, according to the US military. But
many military analysts claim approximately
61% of Afghanistan’s districts
are controlled or threatened
by the Taliban. 

There have been eight US
military deaths
in Afghanistan in 2018. This is a far-cry
from the deadliest year of the war for American in 2010,
when 499 US troops were killed.

But civilian casualties are reaching unprecedented levels
in Afghanistan, a sign of how unstable the country has become
over the past year or so. The war is on track to kill over 20,000
civilians in Afghanistan this year alone, according to data from
the Uppsala Conflict Data Program, meaning the conflict
has reached
its deadliest point in years.

America’s ‘forever war’

There is still no end in sight to this war, which costs US
taxpayers
roughly $45 billion per year
, and the US government is
running out of answers as to why American troops are still
fighting and dying there. 

The conflict began as a reaction to the 9/11 terror attacks and
the Taliban’s close ties to Osama bin Laden, who has since been
assassinated by the US.

At this point, Americans born after 9/11 are old enough to enlist
in the military with parental consent, and will have the
opportunity to fight in a conflict sparked by an event they
couldn’t possibly remember. 

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