Ever since the U.S. withdrawal from Nuristan province, there has been a lot of talk about how al Qaeda and the Taliban will set up shop in the area. And to an extent, that has happened: there are undoubtedly more Taliban and al Qaeda there, and our insistence on paving roads means they have an easier time of moving around than ever before. But that doesn’t mean the province is under the exclusive control of the Taliban.
Yesterday, hundreds of insurgents attacked the provincial capital Nuristan, Parun.
Nuristan province police chief, Gen. Shams-ul Rahman Zahid, said about 400 Taliban fighters launched their assault at dawn, striking government security outposts around a base housing reserve police units some 11 miles (18 kilometers) south of the provincial capital of Parun…
In Kabul, the Afghan military said it would not send reinforcements, while NATO claimed to know nothing about the attacks. There are few coalition or Afghan Army troops in mountainous Nuristan, near the Pakistan border. Asked why he wasn’t dispatching troops, Azimi said that at this point the police were still holding their ground. He said the Afghan army does not have troops stationed in Nuristan because it doesn’t have the personnel available to cover the remote area.
Things are not especially pretty in Nuristan, but it’s important that the small police force in Parun was able to hold their ground without any reinforcement from either the central government or from ISAF. While the Ministry of the Interior has a problem fielding enough personnel to cover the area controlled by the Taliban, incidents like this indicate that allowing the Afghans to stand or fall on their own is not an instant death sentence. Rather, it shows that, placed in charge of their own destiny, they actually do stand a chance.