Afghanistan torn between adversarial violence, has been roiling for a long time; now, with US and NATO troops finally leaving, the spectre of a civil war has materialised. The countryside is aflame, with the Taliban gaining ground each day as it consolidates its hold over rural Afghanistan. Reports of Afghan National Army soldiers switching sides or fleeing for their lives pour in—on July 3, an estimated 1,000 soldiers fled to Tajikistan as Taliban forces overran Kandahar’s Panjwai district. The Taliban have surrounded all major towns and cities, but are possibly waiting for remaining US troops to leave before a final assault on urban centres.
While the Taliban is expected to topple the Ashraf Ghani government, pundits predict a huge escalation in violence, as government forces are keeping their powder dry for the Taliban’s thrust into Kabul. At the moment the Taliban control 142 out of 421 districts. Contesting controls are reported in another 170.