Afghan govt losing control over territory, population as insurgents getting stronger: U.S report

File photo for representation.

The Afghan government’s control over its territory and populace eroded further in 2018, as insurgents continued to strengthen their position, an official U.S report released on Thursday stated.

The report was prepared by the office of the Special Inspector General Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) in which it was stated that there was no suggestive evidence showing that U.S President Donald Trump’s novel strategy for South Asia had been effective in bringing stability to the region.

According to the report, in analyzing the district stability data SIGAR received from US civil and military officials based in Afghanistan in the last quarter of 2018, showed that it “is not indicative of effectiveness of the South Asia strategy”.

The report quoted a report by a mission it sent to Afghanistan in May 2018, stating that the U.S cannot rebuild the war-torn region alone if it does not get strong support from within the country.

“The US government overestimated its ability to build and reform government institutions in Afghanistan as part of its $4.7 billion stabilisation efforts,” the report says.

“The stabilisation strategy and the programmes used to achieve it were not properly tailored to the Afghan context, and that successes in stabilising Afghan districts rarely lasted longer than the physical presence of Coalition troops and civilians,” the report stated.

According to the SIGAR report, as of October 22, 2018, control of Afghanistan’s districts, population, and territory became somewhat more contested.

“Afghan government control or influence continued to decline, and insurgent control or influence increased slightly since July 2018,” the report said.

Referring to population control, the report stated that the Afghan government’s control or influence declined this quarter. As of October 22, 2018, 63.5 per cent of the population (21.2 million of an estimated 33.3 million total) lived in areas under Afghan government control or influence, down roughly 500,000 people (and 1.7 percentage points) since the previous quarter, according to the report.

There was also a decrease in the number of districts under the Afghan government’s control. As of October 22, 2018, there were 219 districts under Afghan government control (74) or influence (145), which is 53.8 per cent of the total number of districts, the report stated.

In contrast, insurgent control within the region increased to one district since last quarter,  but a decrease of eight compared to the same period in 2017. Currently, 12.3 per cent of Afghanistan’s districts are under insurgent control or influence, the report stated.

Recently, a report by New York Times stated that the U.S and Taliban had drafted a deal framework which could potentially pave way for peace talks with Kabul, following six straight days of talks in Qatar. Taliban had appointed a co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar as the leader of their political office in Qatar to lead talks with U.S.

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