Taliban attacks complicate US drawdown in Afghanistan, raise 2015 concerns

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from FoxNews,

From a convoy strike that killed two U.S. troops near Kabul to the recent massacre of schoolchildren across the border in Pakistan, brazen Taliban attacks have brought renewed concerns that the fight against the insurgency is far from over — even as President Obama vows to bring the Afghanistan war to a “responsible end” next week.

The formal end of the U.S. combat mission is Dec. 31.

The Taliban typically launch their fiercest offensives when the cold weather breaks, but have steadily attacked foreigners and coalition targets in advance of that date.

Sen. John McCain suggests the “unusual” winter attacks are a bad sign.

“We’re going to see the same movie we saw in Iraq,” the Republican senator, and likely next chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told Fox News.

That the Taliban would seek to destabilize the new Afghan government once the U.S. combat mission formally ends is almost a certainty. Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford warned in August, as he stepped down as U.S. commander in Afghanistan, that the Taliban would mount another assault in summer 2015.

Whether such an offensive would scramble Obama’s schedule for an orderly U.S. withdrawal, and potentially keep troops there longer than planned, is an open question.

As McCain referenced, the U.S. was pulled back into Iraq after the war technically ended, to respond to the horrific violence inflicted by the rampaging Islamic State. He and others worry about a similar scenario in Afghanistan.

The Taliban have staged more than a dozen attacks targeting foreigners in the past several weeks in Afghanistan.

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