Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Saturday the Taliban is “not losing right now,” which sounds a whole lot like the Taliban is f–king winning right now.
“They are not losing right now, I think that is fair to say,” Dunford said during a discussion at a security forum in Halifax, Canada, according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Free Liberty.
“We do believe the Taliban know that at some point they do have to reconcile,” he said. “The key to success is to combine all that pressure to incentivize the Taliban” to negotiate.
Meanwhile, a number of big NFL games will be kicking off on Sunday, to include the Steelers at Jaguars and Colts vs. Titans. When any one of these teams score a touchdown, I’m sure the announcer will say the higher-scoring team is “not losing right now.”
Still, some fans may likely use a different word to describe what is happening in a competitive event taking place between two opposing teams.
Dunford also added that there was no “military solution” in Afghanistan — echoing a phrase previously offered by the commander of NATO troops there, Gen. Austin “Scott” Miller — implying that a negotiated settlement between the Afghans and the Taliban after 17 years of war is the only way for the U.S. to withdraw.
Those negotiations have been ongoing for months. The most recent meeting was between high-ranking members of the Taliban and the new U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, who held three days of peace talks in Qatar, according to a Nov. 18 report from the Associated Press.
Returning to the subject of “not losing” phraseology, it’s worth noting that in July 2014, Dunford wrote: “The Afghans no longer need much help fighting the Taliban — they can do that on their own.” And more recently in March 2018, Dunford said the Afghan government had made “breathtaking progress” in its military capabilities. He also said, from a “military dimension,” that he was “enthusiastic about the prospects for 2018.”
Army Brig. Gen Michael R. Fenzel, then chief of plans for Resolute Support, while traveling with Dunford, also said at the time: “I won’t purport to speak for the Taliban, but I have to imagine that their big plans to march on Kabul as we left, and now they see us with no time line, additional commitments, overwhelming commitment of enablers that comes with this shift of the main effort from Iraq and Syria to Afghanistan, and they are seeing it on the ground. … It’s got to be demoralizing from the Taliban’s perspective.”
Since Fenzel said that, Afghan government forces “failed to gain greater control or influence over districts, population, and territory this quarter,” according to a November report from The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).
It went on:
However, it reported that only 55.5 percent of the total 407 districts were under government control or influence, the lowest level since SIGAR began tracking district control in 2015.
SIGAR quoted the Resolute Support mission as saying the average number of casualties among Afghan security forces between May 1 and October 1 was “the greatest it has ever been during like periods.”
That indeed sounds like the Taliban is not losing right now. Hmm, Alexa, what’s a synonym for not losing?