Concern in Washington for Taliban targeting Afghan military pilots

A United States watchdog claimed in a report released Thursday that the Taliban’s execution of two Afghan military pilots is a further “worrying development” for the Afghan Air Force, which is already suffering from escalating fighting.

Earlier this month, Reuters quoted two senior Afghan government officials as saying that at least seven Afghan pilots had been murdered outside their bases in recent months as part of what the Taliban described as a campaign to “target and outstanding “US-trained pilots.

A quarterly report released by the Inspector General’s Office for Reconstruction of Afghanistan told Congress that the Afghan Air Force is under additional pressure due to battles with the Taliban during the withdrawal of US forces and that its lack of readiness to combat is in increase.

The report said Air Force teams are overburdened with missions due to the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan and the pace of operations that has not stopped increasing.

The report also refers to the killing of pilots and states: “Another troubling development for Afghan Air Force teams is a Reuters report that the Taliban are deliberately targeting Afghan pilots.”

In a related context, the report revealed that the Taliban’s attacks on the Afghan government have experienced a sharp escalation since the signing of the agreement between the United States and the movement in February 2020, leading to the withdrawal of foreign forces from the country.

Concern in Washington for Taliban targeting Afghan military pilots

An Afghan soldier during battles with the Taliban in Kandahar this month

He said the number of “enemy attacks”, attributed mainly to the Taliban, went from 9,651 at the end of 2019 to 13,242 at the end of 2020, based on data from the NATO mission. in Afghanistan.

And between last March 1st and May 31st, the date of the last of these data collected by the NATO operation “Resolute Support” in Afghanistan prior to the withdrawal of the bulk of the coalition forces, there were 10,000 and 383 attacks counted, of which 3,268 resulted in deaths, according to the Office of Congress.

At the request of the Kabul government, the inspector general did not disclose the death toll of the Afghan army, which amounted to around 300,000.

The report holds the forces of anti-Afghan government groups responsible for 93% of civilian casualties in recent months.

From the battles between Afghan forces and the Taliban in Badghis this month

From the battles between Afghan forces and the Taliban in Badghis this month

The Taliban fighters killed 40% of them, while the “unknown insurgents” are responsible for 38% of them, and ISIS is responsible for 14%, while the “Haqqani network” close to the Taliban is responsible for less. 1% of civilian casualties.

The report pointed out that the Taliban have captured a large number of neighborhoods in rural areas, although they do not control major cities in Afghanistan.

Inspector General John Sopko noted in the report that “it is clear that the general trend is not in the interest of the Afghan government, which could face an existential crisis if it fails to reverse course.”

“The biggest concern is the speed and ease with which the Taliban seem to have taken control of areas in the north of the country, the former stronghold of the opposition against the Taliban,” he added.

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