An Afghan policeman inspects passengers at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Jalalabad province, Afghanistan, April 29, 2016. REUTERS/ PARWIZ
Shawn Snow, Foreign Policy: How Afghanistan Survives the 2016 Fighting Season
Off to a grim and tragic start, Afghanistan must heed lessons from the 2015 fighting season and get creative in their strategies if this year's is to be any better.
Spring has finally arrived, and with it, the beginning of another bloody season of fighting between the Taliban and the Afghan central government. On April 12, the Taliban announced the start of its annual spring offensive — this year, dubbed “Operation Omari,” in homage to the deceased former leader Mullah Mohammad Omar — in what could be a decisive year for both the Kabul-based government and the Taliban. A relative period of calm had permeated the battlefields, from the Helmand Valley to northern Kunduz province. An eerie stillness lingered in the aftermath of one of the bloodiest fighting seasons since the U.S.-led invasion that toppled the Taliban in 2001. That stillness was shattered on the morning of April 19, when the Taliban carried out its worst attack on Kabul, the capital, since 2011, killing over two dozen people and wounding more than 300 others.
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Update: Afghan forces launch push against Taliban (Reuters)
WNU editor: The Afghans have no choice .... the U.S./Western military presence is shrinking .... Shrinking US presence in Afghanistan ‘creates security concerns’ (AFP).