Technical tests of the near future? After nearly twenty years of war, the Taliban feel they are close to victory and come out into the open. This is demonstrated by the incredible parade that accompanied the shadow governor of the province of Logar, in the east of the country. In broad daylight and in the heart of a city, dozens of brand new vehicles and motorcyclists with flags in the wind escort the dignitary of the fundamentalist resistance who now wants to return to power. What is likely to happen in many areas of Afghanistan after the American withdrawal, according to a tweet by Donald Trump it will be completed by Christmas.
This is the effect of the agreement signed in Doha last February between the US plenipotentiary and the Taliban. The second phase was supposed to bring the fundamentalists and the government of Kabul to the same table, but has stalled for months around the junction of the prisoner exchange. And in the meantime, the White House has first decided to reduce its military, then to bring them all back home. A choice that risks leaving the field free to the fundamentalists. Which, despite the promises of truce, continue in targeted attacks against key government figures. Ready to win it all back.
The video of the parade – analyzed by Bill Roggio di Long War Journal – it is impressive, because it testifies to the efficiency of the Taliban ranks. Bikers precede a long procession of brand-new Toyota station wagons. Many militiamen wield modern US weapons. Some appear to belong to the Red Unit, the special unit made up of commandos trained in night combat.
It is no longer the guerrillas in slippers who hid in the mountains, limiting themselves to hit and run attacks: what is taking the field now is a force with government ambitions. Which no longer fears the main threat of recent years: NATO air raids. The convoy of the Taliban leader To contact Ali Ali he slowly passes through the streets of a city, then stops in front of a building where the dignitary enters quietly on foot: the sign of how deeply ingrained the control of the territory is.
Yet it is a strategic province, a few tens of kilometers from Kabul and crossed by the most important highway that connects the capital to the South. From 2001 onwards, the national army and American troops have worked to pacify it and seven years afterwards the situation seemed quite calm: NATO had entrusted it to a contingent from the Czech Republic, with an activity plan for the development of the economy. But little by little, the Taliban returned.
The governors appointed by the Kabul authorities do not have an easy time there. One was murdered in 2013; a year ago a car bomb tried to kill his successor by massacring his escort. Today, of the four districts that make up the province, only one is firmly in the hands of the national authorities. In the others either the fundamentalists dominate or the army remains barricaded in the city bases, leaving them free to move and impose the Koranic law. Typically, they begin by ordering the closure of schools and prohibiting the education of girls. And so they also erase the hopes of a different future for Afghanistan.