A weakened Taliban unlikely to overmatch ANSF
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): Even as the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) has some work to do to increase its strength and capabilities, a weakened Taliban is unlikely to “overmatch ANSF” this year, a top US commander based in Afghanistan told lawmakers on Thursday.
“It is unlikely that the Taliban will be able to overmatch the ANSF on the battlefield in 2015. Nonetheless, the Taliban will still endeavor to frame localized, tactical successes (albeit temporary) into strategic victories through the media,” General John F Campbell, Commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee during a Congressional hearing.
He said in his appearance before the top Senate Committee that the Taliban are in a period of transition and the insurgent group would most likely be willing to absorb considerable casualties and physical losses in order to gain psychological victories.
He said that the Taliban began 2015 weakened, but not yet defeated. Politically, they have become increasingly marginalized. However, the Taliban remain a resilient, lethal force in spite of the fact that they accomplished none of their major strategic or operational objectives in 2014 and suffered considerable casualties.
“We see dissension within the movement. Senior Taliban leaders disagree on how to prioritize their political and military efforts. Many Taliban tactical units also continue to suffer from acute resource shortfalls. Numerous junior Taliban fighters are becoming increasingly resentful towards their leadership as they continue to fight and die at high rates while their senior leaders remain in safe havens in Pakistan,” Campbell said.
“The absence of Coalition combat units on the battlefield has also weakened one of the principal justifications for the Taliban armed struggle: to rid Afghanistan of “malevolent foreign influences.” Now they are fighting against and killing almost exclusively their fellow Afghans,” he said.
The Taliban will likely test the ANSF aggressively in 2015 as they did in 2014. “Taliban threats from indirect fire, insider attacks, and complex attacks are projected to increase in the next fighting season,” the general said.
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