Taliban establish training camps in southern Helmand

Afghan police officials are reporting that the Taliban have re-established training camps in the southern Helmand districts of Dishu and and Khanishin. From Pajhwok Afghan News:

They said Taliban’s training camps and hideouts of drug smugglers were operational in Dishu and Khanishin districts.

Col. Abdul Ahmad Ahmadi, the sixth border police zone deputy commander, told reporters the rebels had established training centers in the Baramcha area of Dishu district.

He said militants trained in the camps sneaked into interior Helmand, Nimroz, Farah and other provinces.

Drug smugglers have established heroin processing factories in border areas, he said, adding the smugglers assisted by insurgents encouraged farmers to grow poppy crops in their fields.

Baramcha, a border town in the district of Dishu, is a known haven for the Taliban and al Qaeda in southern Helmand, and has been a major transit point for enemy forces moving into Afghanistan from Pakistan’s Baluchistan province. Baramcha is across the border from Pakistan’s Gerdi Jangal refugee camp, where one of the Taliban’s four regional military shuras are based.

The USMC liberated Khanishin from Taliban control in the summer of 2009. Marines took control of Dishu in the summer of 2010.

The USMC began transferring control of Khanishin beginning in late 2012 and completed the task in 2013. Dishu was patrolled by Marines but wasn’t under ISAF control. Within a year after the Marines left, the Taliban have become confident enough to establish bases in the area.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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