The state of the war continues to be highly volatile, with Lashkar Gah said to be under serious Taliban pressure and civilians fleeing. Highway One between Kandahar and Herat is also threatened.
Accounts of this incident vary somewhat, but the standard report is that 18 police are missing and presumed captured after Taliban overrun a remote district in Faryab. Warlord Rashid Dostum, who is a Vice President but who has his own militia and is not affiliated with the Afghan military, is put in charge of operations in the area.
UN and Afghan officials express concern about use of child soldiers by Taliban.
Taliban dissidents trying to unite around an alternative to Mullah Mansour.
Three UN security guards are injured by an explosion in Jalalabad.
In an unusual incident, A U.S. F-16 fighter jet was damaged by small arms fire in Paktia on October 13. It was forced to jettison fuel tanks and weapons before returning safely to Bagram. In order for this to have happened, it must have been flying very low and slow, suggesting it was providing close air support, perhaps to U.S. special operations forces.
Not doing himself any good, Afghan defense minister Masoom Stanekzai continues to claim that the MSF hospital in Kunduz was a Taliban sanctuary, implying that the U.S. attack on the hospital was justified. (The scenario that the Pentagon has been leaking, which I have refrained from linking to, is that Afghans called in the strike and the U.S. commanders who authorized it failed to confirm the nature of the target. That might spare somebody a court martial for mass murder, but not for dereliction of duty.)
Germany, Turkey and Italy will go along with the U.S. and keep troops in Afghanistan.
Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Posted by Cervantes at 12:11 PM