On November 4th, the Taliban captured a joint Afghan National Army (ANA) and police forces base in Terinkot, the capital of the Uruzgan province as reported by Pajhwok Afghan News.
According to anonymous sources, 25 ANA and Police forces were stationed in the base when the Taliban attacked on the evening of November 3rd in the Nawa area of Terinkot.
The number of security personnel or Taliban killed and injured in the attack is unclear. The anonymous source also added that the Taliban seized weapons and vehicles from the base.
Initially, the capture was reported by an anonymous source. However, the Uruzgan provincial council confirmed the incident, without elaboration.
Pajhwok Afghan News also cited an unnamed official of the Afghanistan Ministry of Defense who also confirmed the fall of the security base. The source also said that several security personnel members were killed, without providing a specific number.
The Taliban also released a statement saying that they captured the base in Terinkot city, named Tabai Kotla, killing 10 and taking 13 hostages.
Also, on November 4th, Taliban fighters suspended mobile phone services in the province in the Ghazni province, as reported by Pajhwok.
There are numerous recent reports of increased Taliban activity and frequent clashes with Afghan Security Forces.
On October 30th, Army Gen. Austin Miller spoke to NBC News. He is the new US general leading NATO’s Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan as of September 2nd.
When he assumed control there were near-record casualties and injuries of Afghan forces. He instituted a more aggressive policy of helping the Afghan military track and defeat the Taliban — what he calls “regaining the tactical initiative.”
Two months later, he appears to be disillusioned.
“This is not going to be won militarily,” Miller said. “This is going to a political solution.”
“My assessment is the Taliban also realizes they cannot win militarily,” he said. “So if you realize you can’t win militarily at some point, fighting is just, people start asking why. So you do not necessarily wait us out, but I think now is the time to start working through the political piece of this conflict.”
Miller also escaped a Taliban attack unharmed on October 18th in Kandahar city during a meeting with Kandahar’s governor. One of the governor’s bodyguards had joined the Taliban side and then attempted an insider attack that was thwarted. A key U.S.-backed Afghan warlord in the country’s volatile southern region, Kandahar police chief Gen. Abdul Raziq, was killed in the attack.
Also, on October 30th, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, or SIGAR released its quarterly report on the situation in Afghanistan.
According to it, as of July, the Afghan government controls or influences only 55.5 percent of the country’s 407 districts. This is the lowest since the reports began in November 2015.
The numbers of Afghan security forces casualties are at record numbers from May to October 2018, compared to similar periods in the past.
May was the most active month, accounting for 26 percent of all casualties during this five-month period. About 52 percent of the casualties during this time came during checkpoint operations, while 35 percent occurred during patrols.
SIGAR also reported that the number of checkpoint casualties is increasing while the number of patrol casualties is decreasing. Which simply means that the Taliban are beginning to capture areas and not just attempting to slowly chip away at control of a province.
About 65% of the population is under Afghan government control, which remains unchanged.
Approximately 12% of the country is reportedly under Taliban control, while 32.4% is contested.
Since November 2015, overall Afghan government control and influence over districts has gone down by 16%; contested districts have gone up 11% and Taliban control and influence has gone up by 5.5%.
“The control of Afghanistan’s districts, population, and territory overall became more contested this quarter, with both the Afghan government and the insurgency losing districts and land area under their control or influence,” SIGAR officials wrote in their report.
This also follows a Taliban offensive on the city of Ghazni in August. Afghanistan’s elite Commando units suffered heavy losses. The city was retaken after several days. It is, however, showing that the Taliban’s control is increasing, since even the elite unit suffered great casualties, mostly due to fatigue and overuse of the Afghan security forces.
On November 4th, Russia’s foreign ministry said that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had agreed to send a group of senior politicians to peace talks in Moscow, at which a delegation representing the Taliban are to be present. The statement claimed that the talks will be held on November 9th. Such a proposal for a meeting was rejected in August by the US-backed Ghani government.
“It will be the first time that a delegation from the Taliban’s political office in Doha will attend such a high-level international meeting,” the foreign ministry said. The ministry added that it had invited several other countries to send representatives, including India, Iran, Pakistan, China and the United States.
On October 13th, Taliban officials confirmed that they had met with a US delegation in Doha. This is the first time such a meeting was confirmed by either side. According to the Taliban side, the new Afghan envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad met with Taliban officials.