For three days in September, the Taliban occupied Kunduz, marking the first time since 9/11 that the group has taken control of one of Afghanistan’s provincial capitals. The attack followed a year in which the Taliban has expanded operations to nearly every region of the country, with its gains highlighting the deficiencies of both the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and the American effort to support them.
Although President Obama responded to this growing threat by slowing the withdrawal of the last 9,800 US troops in Afghanistan, it is unlikely such a small change will be enough to stop the Taliban’s current advance. The insurgents’ unprecedented gains this year, alongside a resurgent Al Qaeda and a growing Islamic State presence, all threaten to reverse the hard-won gains of the past decade.
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