US-Trained Army Rapidly Losing Ground in Southern Afghanistan

Justin Holcomb
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Posted: Aug 15, 2016 9:00 AM
US-Trained Army Rapidly Losing Ground in Southern Afghanistan

When it comes to invading a country, winning the hearts and minds of its people, and then proceeding to train a well organized and highly effective fighting force, no one does it better than the United States.

However, things seem to not be going so well near the Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan. The U.S trained Afghan Army is having a rough time repelling the fast moving Taliban group from dominating the region.  According to a New York Times report, the regular police and army forces have failed to stand firm, raising the possibility that the Taliban could overrun the capitol city in the area.

“The police, as soon as they were inflicted with some casualties, gave up about 27 posts one after another without a fight, and our posts were surrounded by surprise,” said Col. Nematullah Khalil, the commander of the Afghan Army’s Third Regiment, 215 Corps. “The enemy planted a lot of mines wherever they reached, and that slows us down.  The police are fighting in the front line and suffer heavy casualties more than any other forces,” he said.

But don't worry America, the U.S. has donated nearly $1 billion worth of real property to the Afghan government over the last five years to help solve the problem.  The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) said former bases, ranging from small, tactical combat outposts to large operational bases, have been donated because they cannot legally be sold to the government of Afghanistan.

Congress has appropriated nearly $113 billion for reconstruction since 2001 when U.S.-led forces invaded the country and toppled the Taliban.  About 60 percent of the $113 billion Congress has appropriated has gone to train and equip Afghan security forces.

In April, Taliban groups announced their annual warm-weather fighting season had begun and promised more "large-scale attacks" in their 15th year combating the United States.  This led to the Taliban eventually controlling as much if not more land than they had before American intervention in 2001.  Ali Shah Khan, an elder in Sangin district, said Kabul was warned "so many times but no one listened and that is why the Taliban have gained control of more than half of the province."

Without good leadership and coordination between the security forces, they just let the Taliban gain control over more territory," he said.

And to make things worse, according to the Department of Defense in the Report to Congress, ISIS is expanding into Afghanistan.  The new target, near the Khorasan Province and the Nangarhar Province, is what ISIS calls the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – Khorasan Province or IS-KP.

In a matter of a few months, ISIS has claimed almost as much territory as the U.S. held from 2003 to 2011. The dominos in the Middle East are falling so fast that the media and Department of Defense cannot keep up. 

So what is the answer to the problem? Well, Barack Obama has announced that there is effectively no new plan in Afghanistan and that the 16-year-long war will be handed off the the next president.