Taliban militants decked out in night vision goggles with laser sights are wreaking havoc on the Afghan battlefield.
The group appeared to deploy the new technology with its soldiers hundreds of miles apart in two attacks that slaughtered dozens of Afghan security forces Monday. “They have their own mobile special forces unit which is equipped with lasers and night-vision gear, and they are attacking check posts and bases and then leaving the area as quickly as possible to avoid airstrikes,” an Afghan official lamented to The New York Times.
Militants also appear to consolidating their operations by congregating fighters in a single area for a massive assault on outposts. “The enemy changed its tactic by gathering fighters from other places to assault on a single place,” another Afghan official told TheNYT.
The renewed battlefield push comes at a troubling time in the Afghan war with historic casualties among the Afghan Security Forces and a renewed U.S. push to stave off total collapse of the government.
U.S. strategy in Afghanistan is to support the Afghan National Security Forces in the fight against the Taliban, build their capacity to keep the militants at bay, and eventually drive them to the negotiating table. This strategy almost entirely hinges on the capacity of the Afghan National Security Forces to function with limited U.S. assistance. The recent Taliban attacks demonstrate just how deadly
President Donald Trump committed thousands more troops to the war effort for the foreseeable future in an Aug. 21 address pledging not to withdraw from the country until conditions on the ground merited doing so. Additional U.S. forces will also operate under looser rules of engagement that allow them to target Taliban militant safe havens, not just when they attack.
Conditions however remain increasingly grim.
Previous U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction reports revealed mounting Afghan casualties facing a robust Taliban insurgency, major readiness short falls, recruitment failure, and other key metrics for the U.S. public to judge the utility of its assistance. These reports also revealed the Taliban control nearly 40 percent of the entire country and one-third of the population.
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