The Taliban appears to be fully engaged in its yearly “spring offensive,” which has been a season where the Islamist entities in the region dramatically ramp up attacks against the U.S.-led coalition forces in Afghanistan.
On Wednesday, Taliban insurgents in the Badakhshan province in Afghanistan kidnapped twenty-seven Afghan soldiers. Another 22 Afghan police were killed in the battle. Forty of the remaining soldiers were forced into a bunker where they have stored low quantities of both food and ammunition. Badakhshan’s local police chief said the nation was putting its best efforts towards finding the kidnapped officers.
According to the AP, the Taliban claimed responsibility in a message to the media. Another statement the Taliban released to the media praised the insurgent group’s continuing efforts in its “Khaybar” offensive, named after the Koranic passage that details the story of Muhammad’s slaughter of Jews in the year 629 AD.
On Tuesday, a separate attack carried out by the Taliban resulted in the deaths of 16 Afghan police, eight of whom were later found executed by means of beheading. The deputy governor of the Afghan province commented afterwards, worrying the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) wasn’t doing enough to stop the attacks. The Afghan deputy provincial governor told The New York Times, “ISAF has not provided us with any help. ISAF has not bombarded the insurgents; they have not shared any intelligence with our forces. We do not even know how many insurgents are there.”
ISAF is a U.S. and NATO-led security force in Afghanistan that was established by the United Nations in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, Al Qaeda terror attacks on the United States. The United States makes up approximately 64% of the more than 51,000 ISAF troops.
Amid all of the ongoing turmoil, Afghanistan has a presidential election on June 14. Former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah is set to square off against former World Bank economist Ashraf Ghani. Security experts have warned that the elections create ripe conditions for attacks from militant Islamist forces.