Taliban Creates Chaos in Afghanistan

Over the past few days, the Afghan Taliban has launched multiple offensives within the country.

On August 11th, Taliban forces overran the districts of Khwaja Umari and Ajristan located within the Ghazni Province. Afghan security forces, including Afghanistan’s elite commandos, were routed in the raids that saw hundreds of security personnel killed and survivors fleeing into the mountains for safety. The fall of Khwaja Umari has led to the Taliban of the Kabul-Kandahar highway, a major roadway that connects Kabul to Ghazni and the southern region of Afghanistan.

Days later, elements from the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne division and the U.S. Airforce were deployed to the embattled capital of Ghazni province that shares the same name. Afghan troops have been fighting in the city since last Friday when thousands of Taliban insurgents launch a predawn raid to capture the provincial capital. Citizens claim that the Taliban controls the city, citing videos showing members of the Taliban occupying homes, establishing checkpoints, and casually walking around in the streets. Afghan and American commanders refute this notion, ensuring that the city remains under government control and that there are efforts underway to clear the city of Taliban insurgents that have a presence there.

Afghan officials also stated that the Taliban overran Camp Chinaya, Faryab province, killing at least 17 Afghan soldiers and capturing another 57 after seizing control of base. The base had undergone a 3-day siege from insurgents and finally fell after security forces reportedly ran out of food, water, and ammunition when reinforcements failed to arrive. The Taliban also captured 14 armored military vehicles, in addition to an unknown number of heavy guns, small arms, and ammunition.

The fresh Taliban assaults in the Ghazni and Faryab provinces were likely undertaken in order to increase the Taliban’s political leverage as peace negotiations with the United States currently get underway. The attack on Camp Chinaya was likely the result of local Taliban forces taking advantage of the distraction created by the conflict in Ghazni. With the successful capture of two districts and a military base, the Taliban has successfully shown that they are still a force to be reckoned with.

While the Taliban had an impressive weekend, some of their gains are likely to be short lived. Ghazni province holds a large part of the highway that connects Kabul with Kandahar, the two largest cities in Afghanistan. If the Taliban were to capture and hold Ghazni, Kabul would be cut off from a large part of the rest of the country. Considering the strategic significance of Ghazni province then, Afghan forces and the U.S. led coalition have a strong interest in controlling the region.

The U.S. led coalition has a proven track record of retaking fallen provinces and districts. The United States has already deployed more troops to assist the Afghan government in its fight to maintain Ghazni. This assistance will continue until the province has been recaptured.

Time to Withdraw from the INF and New START Treaties

This is Frank Gaffney with the Secure Freedom Minute.

Once upon a time, the world was considered a bipolar place, in which the United States and the country ruled by the Kremlin were seen as “superpowers.”  Over the decades, these countries forged a series of arms control agreements that were supposed to make the planet safer and more peaceful.

There were, however, two problems: First, the Kremlin’s rulers, initially doing business as the Soviet Union and then as Russia, violated each of these accords. And second, such bilateral arms control treaties left completely unconstrained the growing threat posed by Communist China.

Vladimir Putin’s most recent cheating on the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (or INF) Treaty and his preparations to do the same with the so-called New START limitations fully justify ending our participation in this one-sided – and increasingly dangerous – fraud.

We must rely instead on the time-tested practice of “peace through strength.

This is Frank Gaffney.

6 Killed in Terror Attack in Burkina Faso

On August 11th, five members of the national security force, the gendarmes, and one civilian were killed when the vehicle they were riding in struck a land mine. The truck was carrying security forces who were escorting miners to an extraction site. Regional governor Ousmane Traoré has accused the numerous jihadist groups that plague the region for the attack and, while no terror group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, strikes on security forces by jihadists in Burkina Faso have been on the rise in recent years.

Instability from the fall of the Compaoré regime in 2014, and the ongoing conflict in Mali, has allowed Islamist groups to set up tactical positions and bases within Burkina Faso. Dense forests, the lack of strong border controls, and an absence of a viable police force all make the region hospitable for terror organizations. This environment has allowed groups like . Since then, Ansarul Islam has conducted at least 78 other attacks.

Ansarul Islam is not alone in the region. Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Ansar Dine, the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS), and  Jama’a Nusrat ul-Islam wa al-Muslimin (JNIM)  are some of the other major organizations that operate in the province. Together, these groups have terrorized the Northern Regions of Burkina Faso over the past few years.

One of the deadliest attacks happened on January 16th, 2016, when heavily armed AQIM operatives stormed the Splendid Hotel and killed at least 25 people. The hotel was commonly used by Westerners and United Nations staff, making it a prime target for the jihadis. In an effort to flex its strength in the region, ISGS conducted a strike on a military outpost along the border with Mali later that year that saw 3 soldiers killed in action. Violence like this has continued with more recent assaults coming at the hands of JNIM back on March 2nd of this year when JNIM conducted simultaneous attacks on the French Embassy and Burkina Faso’s army headquarters. This attack left 18 people dead and over 80 wounded.

It is without a doubt that the conflict within Mali and Burkina Faso are linked to one another. A lack of reliable security forces allows these terror groups to move between Mali and Burkina Faso with impunity. These issues have not been met with silence as Burkina Faso has deployed well over 1,800 soldiers to Mali to combat insurgents; however, the rise of security needs at home does call into question how long this deployment will last. France, having the largest presence of any western power within the region and an interest in maintaining a strategic presence in this part of Africa, has deployed forces in the region before to combat terrorism. To continue these counter terrorism efforts, France will continue to back the governments like Mali and Burkina Faso for the foreseeable future

Turkey is Already Playing for the Other Team

This is Frank Gaffney with the Secure Freedom Minute.

Last Friday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan took to the editorial pages of the New York Times threatening that: “Unless the United States starts respecting Turkey’s sovereignty and proves that it understands the dangers that our nation faces, our partnership could be in jeopardy.”

Actually, Turkey’s de facto dictator has been working for over a decade to transform his nation from a secular, Muslim democracy into a Sharia-supremacist Islamic republic. He has encouraged Turks to hate the United States as he worked to foist on Europe millions of Muslim refugees – in the process making a mockery of the notion that Turkey is still a reliable NATO member.

Erdogan closed by warning he’ll “start looking for new friends and allies.”  In fact, he is already playing for the other team, having lashed up with Russia, China and Iran. We must proceed accordingly.

This is Frank Gaffney.

Judgement in Moscow

With Vladimir Bukovsky

VLADIMIR BUKOVSKY, Dissident, Author and Activist, New Book to be published in English soon, Judgement in Moscow, Member of the International Advisory Council of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, Neurophysiologist, Senior fellow of the CATO Institute:

  • Repression under the Soviet regime
  • Treatment of dissidents in Soviet Union

(PART TWO):

  • The collapse of the Soviet Union
  • The true use of psychiatric institutions under Soviet regime

(PART THREE):

  • The communist regime’s unconstitutional methods of rule
  • Transfer of power in Russia under Putin

(PART FOUR):

  • How the West perceived stolen Soviet documents
  • The seduction of socialism in our time
  • The cooperation between Western left and communists