Finally, a bright spot amid 17 years of war in Afghanistan: insurgent control of the country has started to diminish for the first time in nearly two years, according to a quarterly report to Congress from the Special Investigator General for Afghanistan Reconstruction published on July 30.
- According to SIGAR's quarterly report, the number of the country's 407 districts controlled or directly influenced by the Taliban or other insurgent groups fell from 59 to 56, a 1% declinein the last quarter.
- However, Afghan government control of the country has also declined, by 16% since November 2015, while insurgent-controlled districts increased by 7% and those considered “contested” by Afghan security forces and militants jumped by 9%.
- Additionally, the percentage of the Afghan population living in areas under government control or influence has declined by around 4% since August 2016, while those living in contested areas increased by 6% and areas under insurgent control by some 3%.
- As of May 2018, only 65% of the Afghan population lives under the protection of the government. Meanwhile, 12% of the population — 3.9 million civilians — have continued to suffer under Taliban control with virtually no change over the last two years, despite the Afghan government's objective of getting 80% of the population under its wing by 2019.
Just a reminder that T&P; Pentagon correspondent asked Army Gen. Joseph Votel, head of U.S. Central Command, explicitly how long the American public should expect to keep sending warfighters to Afghanistan. His response? “These things often take time.”
Read the full SIGAR report below: