Taliban fighters massacred more than 57 Afghan military personnel and police officers in four separate attacks across northern Afghanistan, Afghan officials told the New York Times on Monday, the latest in a series of devastating and demoralizing attacks on security forces there.

  • The Monday attack consisted of what the New York Times described as “simultaneous assaults on six outposts” in a single strategic district in the Kunduz Province followed by several devastating assaults in outlying provinces, all of which left at least a dozen Afghan soldiers and police officers dead.
  • The offensive came the day after 40 Afghan security personnel were killed when the Taliban overran a military base in the Baghlan province, “the second major base to fall to the insurgents in Baghlan Province in the past month, and the third in northern Afghanistan during the same period,” per the New York Times.
  • The rough start to September for Afghan security forces comes after a month that saw Taliban fighters occupy Ghazni City and wipe out up to 100 Afghan commandos, their advance halted only when U.S. forces struck back with air support from B-1 bombers, A-10 Thunderbolt II attack craft, AH-64 Apache helicopters, and MQ-9 Reaper drones.
  • It’s unsurprising to read reports of Afghan security forces fleeing the path of oncoming Taliban hordes during the Kunduz and Ghazni City assaults, as the Times noted: Afghan soldiers and police officers a have increasingly endured particularly demoralizing defeats ever since Taliban commandos from the militants’ so-called ‘Red Unit’ slaughtered scores of Afghan troops in a 36-hour period in November 2017.
  • A new analysis by the New York Times suggests that the Taliban control far more territory in Afghanistan than previously disclosed to the public: 61% of the country compared to the 44% documented by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.

The U.S. military campaign in Afghanistan turns 17 on October 17th — just old enough to fight in a war with no end in sight.