The Taliban’s recent advances in Kandahar are genuine and troubling. Coalition forces can avoid the mistakes fo the past by investing resources in rural districts and shifting focus to securing the cities and the north.
- The Taliban have won control of the Pashtun belt and Helmand Province. The high level of xenophobia in these areas, coupled with the Taliban’s ability to address local grievances, will make it impossible for the coalition to control the countryside.
- As a first priority, the coalition forces should stem the Taliban’s growing influence in the north, specifically in Baghlan, Kunduz, Takhar, Badghis, Herat, and Ghor.
- Because of their countryside dominance, the Taliban are now attacking cities, including Gardez, Khost, and Pul-i Alam. The coalition forces should prioritize securing the cities, where there is a higher likelihood for success compared to the rural areas.
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