Long War Journal reports Taliban massing in western Afghanistan province of Farah

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Long War Journal reports Taliban massing in western Afghanistan province of Farah

A fairly short post today because Long War Journal (and my favorite military blogger Bill Roggio) covers it fully:

Hundreds of Taliban fighters in the western province of Farah paraded their vehicles and then stood in formation for a lengthy period of time, without fear of being targeted by Afghan or Coalition forces, to listen to an official give a speech recently . The Taliban continues to be able to operate openly in nearly all areas of the country.

The Taliban displayed their military power in the contested district of Bakwa in a newly released video titled From the Fronts of Farah. The video which was released on the Taliban’s propaganda website, Voice of Jihad, “is dedicated to the Jihadic situation of Farah province showcasing the strength, control and advances of the Mujahideen of Islamic Emirate,” according to an accompanying statement.

The video appears to be filmed at Bakwa’s district center or a large village in the district. In the video, scores of Taliban vehicles, including new Toyota Hilux pickup trucks and minivans, as well as HUMVEES and Ford Ranger pickup trucks that have been captured from Afghan Army and police units, are paraded by the Taliban. Taliban flags are flying everywhere, and many vehicles display the white banner of the group.

This seems a pretty brazen move.  If we’d had intel on this gathering we could have swarmed the area in drones and wiped out a pretty good population of bad guys.

Head on over to Long War Journal and you can see the video itself too.  Looks like they are basically using any running vehicle and doing it up Mad Max style.  It pains me to see that the Afghan National Army apparently can’t keep these forces from gathering, but after 18 years of war I’m not sure how much more progress can be expected.

In an interview with The Guardian, the Taliban openly taunts the US:

Referring to Barack Obama’s surge, Saeed said: “150,000 Americans couldn’t beat us.” And an extra 4,000 US soldiers, as Donald Trump will deploy, “will not change the morale of our mujahideen,” he said. “The Americans were walking in our villages, and we pushed them out.” For the Taliban to consider peace, he said, “foreigners must leave, and the constitution must be changed to sharia.” […]

“It’s true, it has become harder to fight the Americans. But we use suicide bombers, and we will use more of them,” Saeed said. “If the US changes its tactics of fighting, so do we.” That change has meant ever-fiercer attacks, with large truck bombs in populated areas and audacious assaults on military bases.

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.