Kunduz-A New Toehold for the Taliban
The northern Province of Kunduz has been bellwether in the past, lately it has been one that has proved worrisome. In 2001 it was, like other Provinces in the north of Afghanistan, a stronghold of the Northern Alliance standing against Taliban rule. Since that time it has slowly slipped from this orbit to where it is today, a new foothold for the neo-Taliban. The events of this past weekend in which a NATO strike on two hijacked fuel trucks are disappointing but not surprising for this area. The neo-Taliban have made a comeback in Kunduz since the spring where they have taken back many aspects of daily life. The roads are regularly patrolled by armed insurgents while checkpoints have been set up to extort “taxes” from the local population. This in turn is used to fund the local insurgency which is becoming more active on a daily basis. The German forces in the Province have their hands full as they have seen a fledgling insurgency grow into a security challenge for the entire population in less than a year. It’s unclear what has fueled it in Kunduz but the fact that it was possible to fuel it in the first place is unsettling enough to deal with for the Germans and NATO as a whole. The security challenges in Kunduz are a microcosm of the challenges facing NATO and the US in all of Afghanistan. The relative quiet of the north has been shattered by a new wave of violence with few clues as to what has caused it and what can be done to reverse it. As the votes are still be counted in the Afghan Presidential race the legitimacy becomes even more important as the government faces these newly formed threats to Afghanistan’s future.