Northern Afghanistan has long been a forgotten portion of the nation. The home of the rebel Northern Alliance that largely became the Afghan government after the 2001 US invasion, the region didn’t have a terribly strong Taliban presence to begin with. Now, however, they seem to be rapidly establishing themselves in the small but key Kunduz Province.
Locals say that the Taliban’s presence has been steadily growing since spring of 2008 but NATO appears to be paying no attention. The province, a key supply line, has seen most of its Afghan forces withdrawn and only a few thousand German troops trying to fend off the Taliban.
NATO had relied on a route through Pakistan’s Khyber Pass for virtually all of its supplies, but increasing danger in the region led the US to construct a bridge in the Kunduz Province to allow a land route through the nation’s north. This, it seems, has spawned growing Taliban forces where seemingly none existed before.
Germans, who had been told their mission was purely humanitarian in nature, have been increasingly realizing their soldiers are involved in a war ever since a September air strike ordered by a German colonel killed over 100 people, mostly civilians.