Report: Taliban Now Controls More Of Afghanistan Than At Any Time Since 2001

After thousands of fatalities to U.S. personnel and allies and hundreds of billions of dollars, the Taliban now controls more of Afghanistan than at any point since 2001 . . .  that the momentum seems to favor the Taliban. The government controls only 55 percent of the country. One can only wonder at the problems in this country that could have been addressed by hundreds of billions of dollars but the thousands lost and wounded are no abstraction.


In its quarterly report for the US Congress, the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR) said, “The Taliban now controls more territory than at any time since 2001.”  The government is actually only in control of roughly half of the country’s districts — that is down from 2015 when it controlled 72%.

I have previously written about the waste of billions of dollars by the government without any significant discipline of government officials. We have become accustomed to reports of unimaginable corruption and waste in Afghanistan from bags of money delivered to officials to constructing huge buildings immediately torn down to buying aircraft that cannot be used to buildings that seem to “melt away”. Much like our useless campaign against poppy production where we continued to spend billions because no one had the courage to end or change the program.  Then there are the “ghost soldiers” used by Afghan officials to steal money.

In the meantime, the Afghan National Security Forces (ANDSF) short of roughly 40,000 personnel — or 11% — of its target strength of 352,000 personnel.

45 thoughts on “Report: Taliban Now Controls More Of Afghanistan Than At Any Time Since 2001”

    1. “Taylor was killed Nov. 3 in Kabul in an apparent insider attack that also wounded another service member, according to the Department of Defense, reported The Associated Press. The attacker was immediately killed by Afghan forces.

      “Initial reports indicated the attacker was a member of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, the Army Times reported.”

      Taylor posted his Facebook message on Oct. 28.

      Brent Taylor added 3 new photos.

      October 28 at 2:58 PM ·

      Freedom: Millions Defy Taliban and Vote in Afghan Elections

      “The secret to happiness is freedom… And the secret to freedom is courage.” – Thucydides

      “In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

      It was beautiful to see over 4 million Afghan men and women brave threats and deadly attacks to vote in Afghanistan’s first parliamentary elections in eight years. The strong turnout, despite the attacks and challenges, was a success for the long-suffering people of Afghanistan and for the cause of human freedom. I am proud of the brave Afghan and US soldiers I serve with. Many American, NATO allies, and Afghan troops have died to make moments like this possible; for example, my dear friend Lieutenant Kefayatullah who was killed fighting the Taliban the day before voting began.

      As the USA gets ready to vote in our own election next week, I hope everyone back home exercises their precious right to vote. And that whether the Republicans or the Democrats win, that we all remember that we have far more as Americans that unites us than divides us. “United we stand, divided we fall.” God Bless America.

  1. (music)
    And it’s one, two . there… what are we fighting for!
    Don’t ask me I don’t give a damn…
    Next stop is Viet Nam!

    And it’s five six seven open up the Pearly Gates…
    Ain’t no time to wonder why…
    Whoopee we’re all gonna die!

  2. “It’s the economy, stupid!”

    – James Carville

    Staying is impossible.

    Leaving is impossible.

    Put the UN In there.

    Open some mines.

    Move the factories from China.

    Put those people to work.

  3. Stop sending money to the Pakistani. Stop sending money to the Afghans.

    Do burn the poppy fields.

    Drive everyone into the arms of the Taliban.
    Make the Saudis pick up the tab.

  4. “…the thousands lost and wounded are no abstraction.sands lost and wounded are no abstraction.”

    Not to mention the hundreds of thousands of Afghanis who’ve been wantonly slaughtered. Somehow, Americans always seem to ignore how many foreign nations we butcher with our senseless wars–it’s almost as if they don’t really count or something.

  5. Now go back or forward or where ever and read my comment to Bacon Boys (‘s’ because that is plural effort of not The Collective but a Collection so no apostrophe) and go read the hands on eyes on non fiction counter to your contention. Granted your 100% comment is exactly correct but that doesn’t mean failure occurred. It was glaringly prevalent during the eight years of Obama’s war mongering. Horse Soldiers was the first – then an additional version 12 Strong and as for Hillary? Don’t send a girly girl to do woman’s job.

  6. The Saudis have been mentioned here.
    Maybe we could get the Saudis to lure the Taliban leaders to the Saudi embassy in Kabul, to “process paperwork”, “take care of documents”, etc.


    Afghanistan’s border with Pakistan is about 1,000 miles long. And it’s been common knowledge, for years, that Pakistan supports the Taliban. What’s more, our dubious friend Saudi Arabia has used its wealth to spread Wahhabism in Pakistan. Consequently Pakistan, one of the world’s most populous nations, is largely influenced by Muslim fundamentalists. These dynamics have kept the Taliban a major presence in Afghanistan. Unless these dynamics change dramatically, I don’t see how the U.S. can possibly install a competent, democratic government in Afghanistan.

    1. It is three different countries forced to become one. The British solution.

  8. About 1% of our military manpower is deployed to Afghanistan at any one time. Our presence there is not a severe drain.

    1. Tabby, what are you babbling about???

      Afghanistan is a landlocked country of high elevations with a largely illiterate population. What’s more its population is widely scattered. From a military standpoint, it is one of the most challenging nations on earth to occupy.

  9. The incursion into Afghanistan was justified. However, Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld botched it from the get go. The experienced generals from the failed operations in Vietnam and other lost causes advised twice the troops, a quick and total lockdown of the country, immediate and direct control of rebuilding the infrastructure, and a solid exit strategy, among other ‘wise’ moves. The three stooges ignored this and went for ‘shock and awe’. Cheney explained that there was an American flag hidden under every Afghani’s bed. The Bush administration blew the initial take over. They hemmed and hawed over Pakistan and other border areas which allowed the Taliban to move out and then come back in. With an extra quarter million troops the borders could have been sealed and a judicious mop up could have taken place. Instead of transporting billions in suitcases to corrupt officials who jetted to Switzerland to open new lives, the US should have been directly involve in building infrastructure, schools, etc. There would always have been mountain warlords and the Taliban, but they could have been contained if hammered properly from the get go.

    Iraq was stupid and more of the same.

    You can blame Obama and Trump; but it is all the fault of the three stooges. One will never know if it could have been done had it been done right. One is now stuck with a losing situation, just like Vietnam.

    1. “The incursion into Afghanistan was justified.”

      Not one Afghan was involved in 9/11. Very few, if any Afghans knew anything about 9/11. Afghanistan is in a militarily strategic location and can support Saudi oil transport to Europe. That, in no way, justifies destroying millions of lives of defenseless people, just because a cadre of US officials vicariously enjoy widespread carnage and mayhem.

      1. Not one Afghan was involved in 9/11. V

        The Afghan government was fully implicated and Al Qaeda’s base of operation was in Afghanistan.

      2. justifies destroying millions of lives of defenseless people,

        You’ve incorporated two lies in just one sentence fragment.

    2. Speaking of stupid the remarks previous fit that description say Bacon Boy how much time did you spend in a war “Daddy” is something your children should ask.

      Early on with a year of 9/11 or so A heavily supported by supply aircraft to combat aircraft a small group of soldiers dozen or so spent thirty days in Northern Afghanistan and with their Northern Alliance counterparts managed to drive ALL the Taliban out of Afghanistan.

      Then the politicians stepped in including some that are miitary politicians.

      At that point everiyone wanted play ‘Special Operations but 97% were not fit for that role in and out of the military. As usual The politicians snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

      If you liked Benghazi read the two books or even go see the movie to get the layout but as usual the books are far superior.. :Look for Twelve Strong the composition of a US Army Special Forces A Team..

      Did you know the Canadians; have a Special Operations unit in the Calgary area. They get listened to about as much as do ours. BUT Special Operations is now a distinct and separate part of the military so who knows Special Forces, Rangers, SEALs US Marine Corps Recon/;Snipers, as usual do the difficut in a day or two the impossible in a month.

      The best part is they managed to get the Northern Alliance working together by broaching the idea of splitting the country into major tribal oriented separate countries. Takes more than loud mouths and silly ass comments from wanna be never wills.

      And that includes those running for office with not a not a lick nor a realistic promise.

      Did you know the first serious discussion of how the military was going to uphold and carry out their Oath of Office was accomplished as an Area Study in a Special Forces unit? With the emphasis on no shots fired no body count?

      How many divisions does the left have?

      None. Even when they held the White House.

  10. JT did a posting on the Afghan bacha bazi “dancing boys” a while ago. U.S tax payers got scammed on the Afghan nation rebuilding when Obama was in office. The Taliban warlords are angry.

    1. and yet Muslims kill homosexuals due to “religious” reasons.
      Muslim terrorists are like hateful leftists….hypocritical terrorists pushing their dictatorship of relativism

      1. Clark, many would say that the Taliban, with their draconian religious values, are more like American Evangelicals than any leftists. Leftists are more likely to be secular or atheist.

        But I realize you’re just parroting stupid talking points that are currently in fashion among mindless Trumpers.

        1. Clark, many would say that the Taliban, with their draconian religious values, are more like American Evangelicals than any leftists

          Crude and ignorant is no way to go through life, Peter.

        2. Secularism is a form of religion. Even Lenin said ‘do not try to explain Marxist Economics. Preach it as an article of faith.’ James Carville in the Gore campaign stated, “Where is he sacred ground? Then repeated Lenin “anything said to advance the party is the truth? The two largest theocracies ever ? Caholicism and Islam..

  11. There have been occasional updates on the amount of territory controlled by the Taliban.
    I no reason to dispute the 45% figure cited in the column (55% gvt.-controlled, 45% Taliban-controlled).
    These estimates have always seemed to refer to percentage of territory ( or % of “districts”), not percentage of the population that is either government or Taliban controlled.
    45% Taliban control is preferable to 100% Taliban control of Afghanistan.
    Mespo point about needing “to be around to tamp down on the terrorists and disrupt their command and control” is valid.
    A Taliban controlled Afghanistan was more than willing to host Al Queda, which enjoyed an extended period of operating without much in the way of outside disruption of their facilities/ infrastructure.
    There is a stong likelihood that regaining control of Afghanistan ( and being free of the “distraction” of combat) would result in another Taliban
    alliance with an Al Queda like group.
    I didn’t see our objective of toppling the Taliban as a short-term goal. Those in Afghanistan who sided against the Taliban after we dislodged them probably counted on some level of continued U.S. support.
    And those would be likely to pay a very high price in the form of reprisals by another Taliban government.
    The cost of that continued support, especially in terms of number of American troops and the number American casualties, is much lower than at the ( or near the) peak of U.S. involved.
    We can pull the plug anytime, like we did in Iraq after achieving a level of stability due to the surge.
    Dislodging an entrenched ISIS was far more difficult than preventing them from walking in and taking over a third of the country.
    Continued U.S. could have prevented that cakewalk of the ISIS “conquests”, and the horrific damage inflicted in the subsequent battles to dislodge them.
    IMO we face a somewhat similar situation in Afghanistan; once we pull out the ( greatly reduced number) of U.S. troops, we’re inviting a catastrophic aftermath.

  12. I suggest we spend the money to build a border around the country and then carpet bomb it. It would be cheap in the long run. No one, including Alexander the Great, has been able to deal with this country. Too many mountains.

    1. Alexander paid off the chiefs and moved on. that’s what we should have done and can still do. just make a deal with the Taliban and leave.

      1. Mr. Kurtz,..
        We have made deals with the warlords, but I don’t think they are anywhere near powerful or united enough to deal with the Taliban.
        I know that a proposed settlement with the Taliban has been discussed, but it’s hard to envision how that would come about, or play out.
        There is a fanaticism and religious extremism in the Taliban that seems likely to thwart any realistic settlement, unless the “settlement” is to settle for a pre-2001 Afghanistan.
        It seems doubtful that there is a “moderate” element within the Taliban looking for compromise; even if there is such an element, they aren’t calling the shots for the Taliban.

      2. just make a deal with the Taliban and leave.

        Yeah, that’ll work.

      3. Why make a deal? Sounds like Nixon at the end of LBJ’s War. Besides you would have to have a Pelosi and Schumer and Kerry in charge and that is too big of a price to pay.

    2. Paul, Afghanistan’s border with Pakistan is about 1,000 miles long. I don’t think we have the troops or money to adequately close that border.

      1. It would require one big fence plus two internal fences minimum as it’s three countries in one. Even then internal to those their are tribal differences.

        Ever look at the complete Chinese Wall protecting the xi xia northern china and the southern chinese from the barbarians. At one point there were five walls like spokes coming off one mountain. It was quite complex.

        But it was left sufficiently unguarded. Along came Ghengis and he wiped them out and burn What is now Beijing to the ground. Did much the same in the Pakistan, Northern India, Afghanistan area. wiped out the middle east and even after he died his sons went as far as what is now Ukraine and Poland.

        His system would not be acceptable today. He would pitch a white tent. If they did not capitulate, a red one. then a black one and that meant everyone died. Most cities capitulated having learned a hard lesson.

        Now we are reduced to ‘pretty please with sugar on it?’

        So what would happen to this country under a Kerry?

        The military would be able to uphold their oath of office and do it legally.

        Under the Patriot Act Kerry and company handcuffed and disappeared.

        Then you hope the military gives it back but then losing it is a sure thing under a Kerry. With the military you get what you hope are not like the oath breakers of the left. Certain thing versus unknown odds.

  13. What this should be telling us is that the West does not necessarily have the right approach to life. We have dismissed religious faith from our lives, and the natural order of the sexes, and have embraced foolishness like “diversity” of everything but thought. We have embraced feminism, and a slew of gender-foolish ideas. We mostly refuse to execute criminals, and doddle around spewing niceties instead of dealing with our problems.

    All of this might have had some reasonable basis in the belief that it would lead to a more civilized existence, but after 50 or so years of it, maybe it is time we start to reconsider. Half the darn country is on some kind of anti-depressant, legal or otherwise, our women are mostly skank whores with bad tattoos, and our kids are mostly either violent thugz or Eloi-like seekers of safe spaces. Men have become boys, wearing short pants, and baseball caps on backwards, and spend their time drinking, drugging, hooking up with skanks online, and playing video games.

    Meanwhile, the primitive Afghanis just keep on slugging away at us. Because they don’t mind dying for what they believe in, while we pretty much don’t care about anything but having a good time. Which, getting killed in Afghanistan puts an end to. Although using drones is kind of like a video game!

    Sooo, maybe this should be taken as an omen of the future. If we don’t rediscover who we are supposed to be, then we will be taken over by those who do have a central belief system.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  14. Afghanistan was a necessary incursion unlike Iraq. Bin Laden was there along with his gang and their power had to be broken. It’s a sh*thole country where democracy will never work — too much superstition and illiteracy. (Over 85% of the population has less than an elementary school education). We just need to be around to tamp down on the terrorists and disrupt their command and control. Just like the ancient Romans in Judea.

  15. So, American lives and treasure lost while politicians dither. Either commandeer the entire nation and purge it or leave and deal later with a terrorist homeland. Anything other than these 2 solutions will not end the problem of Afghanistan but neither will it stop terrorists from creating a new terrorist homeland somewhere else.

    We know that islam has created havoc for the world for 1400 years now, deal with the real problem.

    1. Alma,..
      A quick check of the U.S. casualty numbers by year might surprise you.
      They are a tiny fraction of what we had experienced early on.
      And U.S. troops levels have been greatly reduced; those remaining U.S. troops have transitioned largely to a supporting role.
      I mentioned the fallout from “ending the war in Iraq” by completely withdrawing U.S. troops.
      As far as dealing with a “terrorist homeland later”, that is much more difficult and costly than preventing a complete Taliban takeover.

      1. To keep from posting the lengthy list again. Go to World Almanac and book of facts for any year used to be NYT now a private publisher. Start with 1909 the year the progressives took power and you can see who started the most conflicts and killed the most people. The progressives were certainly progressive in that effort. About 95% to 5%. Thus the XXth was the century of the great socialist wars. But the comment is on the mark.

        1. Michael Aarethun – check out the number of Central and South American countries Woodrow Wilson sent troops into to enforce his policy. He overthrew the Haitian government because those “blackies” got too uppity.

  16. That war is lost; time to declare victory and leave.

    Let them sort out their own problems.

    Regret the blood and treasure spent in the past 17 years.

    1. The war is stalemated, not lost. Making the country 100% Taliban-free was probably never a realistic goal, especially with a porous border and elements within the government of Pakistan sympathetic to and supportive of the Taliban.
      Even with the ground lost by Afghan government forces, the war is not lost.
      It’s far easier to achieve a 100% defeat than a 100% victory there, and pulling the plug completely at this stage is a fast route to total defeat.
      As far as the proposal that someone made here of dealing with a future, renewed terrorist threat from a aTaliban-controlled Afghanistan, that course guarantees a tremendous U.S. cost, relative to current costs.

    2. The failure in that effort is something we are all familiar. Failure to control the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan followed by abdicating and abandoning the area. Since the winning unit was not allowed to shoot or airstrike across the border and since they were pulled out of the area and not replaced there was no one to provide human eyes verification before the targets were MOAB’d or Arclighted. Not even when they re took cities just inside the border. There were more than one Kerry involved in that bit of cowardice. .

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