Still a very explosive mix

After the US withdrawal, chaos wins out. The Taliban, the police and the armed forces are at each other's throats.

The situation in Afghanistan is as unstable and volatile as ever. At the time of writing, following the death of Mullah Omar, the succession of Akhtar Mansour as leader of the Taliban has divided the group into those supporting Mansour and those who, instead, favour Abdul Manan, the brother of the previous leader. The peace process involving the Afghan government and the Taliban very much depends on the resolution of this rift. At the beginning of July, Pakistan hosted a high-level meeting between the two factions. But the official announcement of Mullah Omar’s death at the end of the same month stalled the proceedings. What has not stalled in Afghanistan is the violence. According to the United Nations, the first six months of 2015 witnessed an increase in the number of civilian casualties compared to same period in the previous year. Almost 1,600 people have died and another 3,329 have been wounded. Graeme Smith, an International Crisis Group analyst stationed in Kabul, confirmed this trend: “There’s much more violence now than there was before the West decided to move in. The conflict is getting worse. The number of casualties among civilians and the Afghan security forces has topped all records during the first six months of this year, and the same is true for the number of Taliban attacks”.

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