Taliban assault Afghan parliament, take two districts in Kunduz

A Taliban fighter raises the group’s white banner in Dasht-i-Archi. Image from the Taliban’s Voice of Jihad.

The Taliban launched a suicide assault on the parliament building in the Afghan capital of Kabul today. At the same time, two contested districts in the northern province of Kunduz, where the Taliban launched a major offensive at the end of April, have fallen to the Taliban. Meanwhile, the jihadist group has renewed its push to regain control of districts in the southern province of Helmand.

The Taliban claimed credit for today’s attack in the capital on its website, Voice of Jihad, stating that “multiple martyrdom seekers of [the] Islamic Emirate … armed with heavy and light weapons” assaulted the heavily secured seat of government.

The attack in Kabul began after a suicide bomber penetrated rings of security around the parliament building and detonated his vehicle at the main gate at approximately 10:30 a.m. Armed Taliban fighters then attempted to enter the breach created by the suicide bomber, but were repelled by Afghan forces after several hours of fighting.

Afghan officials claimed that seven Taliban fighters who participated in the attack, including the suicide bomber, were killed. At least two civilians were killed and dozens more were wounded in the fighting.

The suicide assault, or coordinated attack using one or more suicide bombers and an assault team, is a tactic frequently used by the Afghan Taliban, the Haqqani Network, the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, al Qaeda and its branches, allied groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, and by the rival Islamic State. Suicide assaults are commonly executed by jihadist groups in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, and Nigeria.

The Taliban have vowed to target the “foreign occupiers” and “the stooge regime,” or Afghan government, as part of this year’s spring offensive, which is called Azm, or Resolve. The jihadist group has targeted both the government and foreigners in Kabul since announcing Azm. In one of the more deadly attacks this spring, a Taliban fighter killed 14 people, including nine foreigners, in an attack on a hotel in Kabul.

Two districts in Kunduz fall to Taliban

In addition to assaulting the parliament building in Kabul, the Taliban seized control of the districts of Chardara and Dasht-i-Archi in the northern province of Kunduz over the past three days.

Taliban fighters overran the Chardara district center on June 20, and the Dasht-i-Archi district center earlier today, Afghan officials said.

According to Xinhua, “security forces tactically retreated to outer sides of the [Dasht-i-Archi] district center to avoid civilian casualties.”

On Voice of Jihad, the Taliban release a photograph of a fighter raising the Taliban’s white banner in Dasht-i-Archi.

“The district HQ building was overrun along with 14 surrounding security posts since clashes began Sunday against the enemy forces during which a total of 24 hireling troops were killed and dozens of other wounded,” the report on Voice of Jihad claimed. “8 enemy APCs, 12 pickup trucks, 3 hatchback vehicles, 130 items of heavy and small arms and a sizable amount of other military equipment was seized.”

The Taliban launched an offensive to seize control of Kunduz province at the end of April. The districts of Imam Sahib, Aliabad, and Qala-i-Zal were overrun in the initial assault. The status of those districts is unclear, but the Taliban are thought to be in control of Imam Sahib and Aliabad. [See LWJ report, Taliban launch offensive in northern Afghan province.]

Just after the offensive began, an Afghan official claimed that 65 percent of the province is under Taliban control. The loss of Chardara and Dasht-i-Archi means that four of the seven districts of Kunduz are likely under Taliban control.

The Taliban released a lengthy video shortly after the Kunduz offensive began that showed its fighters in control of Afghan security forces’ outposts, captured security personnel, and vehicles and weapons seized during the fighting. [See LWJ report, Taliban touts success in Kunduz offensive.]

Kunduz and neighboring provinces were relatively peaceful after the US toppled the Taliban regime in 2001 following the 9/11 attacks on the US. In 2009, the Taliban and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, which has integrated into the Taliban’s command structure in the Afghan north, began destabilizing the northern provinces and took control of several districts in Kunduz. Additionally, the jihadist groups made major inroads in other provinces, and even established training camps in the previously quiet provinces of Samangan and Sar-i-Pul.

The Taliban have been growing increasingly bold in the north over the past several months. In addition to seizing two districts in Kunduz, the Taliban overran a district in Jawzjan province in December 2014. That same month the jihadist group publicized one of its training camps in the northern province of Faryab.

Taliban make a push in Helmand

Helmand province, a traditional Taliban stronghold in the Afghan south, has also been under assault by the jihadist group. Late last week, Taliban fighters “sacked part of the center of Musa Qala District, according to the residents, setting a clinic on fire and destroying government vehicles parked at a major police station,” The New York Times reported.

The Taliban claimed that “the [Musa Qala] district police HQ building was completely overrun, 24 police including the commander – Sabir – and 3 hireling commando troopers were killed and dozens of others wounded” during the attack.

Much of Helmand province has been contested since last summer, when an al Qaeda and Taliban-linked group known as Junood al Fida claimed it took control of the remote southern district of Registan. The Taliban overran the central district of Sangin one year ago, and the district is contested. Baghran is thought to be under Taliban control, as is much of Kajaki.

The US and NATO end its combat mission in Afghanistan in December 2014 and the limited number of forces have shifted to an advise and support role. Less than 10,000 US troops and several thousand NATO personnel remain in Afghanistan. As the US withdrew the bulk of its forces last year, the Taliban stepped up operations in southern, western, and eastern Afghanistan and have taken control of several districts and currently contests others throughout the country.


Kabul police: attack on parliament over, all attackers killed, Khaama Press
6 Suicide Attackers Including 2 Civilians Killed, 28 Injured in Parliament Attack, Ariana News
Martyrdom attack underway on Parliament in heart of Kabul city, Voice of Jihad
Taliban captures another district in northern Afghanistan, Xinhua
Dasht-i-Archi district also falls to Taliban, Pajhwok Afghan News
Taliban overrun Dasht-e Archi, 2nd District in Kunduz, ATN News
Dashti Archi district HQ, 12 posts overrun, Voice of Jihad
Taliban Strike Crucial District in Afghanistan, The New York Times
Musa Kala police HQ overrun, 24 police and 3 commandoes killed, Voice of Jihad

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


  • mike merlo says:

    most unfortunate development. The Afghan Government & Security Apparatus messed up from the get go. As soon as this Force showed up en masse the Afghan Government should have responded with everything available & then some. It still reasonably within their repertorie to respond effectively & decisively. The longer they wait though the degree of difficulty increases accordingly. Till such action, if ever, they’re stuck with this problem throughout the duration of the Fighting Season.

  • Oberron says:

    Once again our Generals show they can’t train Foreign Armies. The key to a successful military is non-corrupt officers, and a non-corrupt government.

    Neither is present in Afghanistan and that is their fault as they had administrative control. So the Taliban will keep gaining and improving unless IS flips it.


    Is it too much to ask that Generals be held account? To demand they deliver results? We pay them to win wars, not build HQ palaces and give power point presentations. We now have more Admirals than we have ships…

  • Dennis says:

    All of these movements were publicly foretold years ago when Obama said we would leave.Money was sent to” train” Afgan recruits. Recruits who for the most part were illiterate in their own language, nor capable of understanding different dialects in their country. Even with the use of translators, how much could possibly get through with those problems at.the very point of hands on training. Mostly these recruits are individuals not wanted by the Taliban in the first place.

  • jeb stuart says:

    I have friends deploying to Kandahar, they will be members of the last QRF deployed to Afghanistan. But their primary function is to close the base, Leatherneck is closing too.
    When it is done only a token presence of American interest hardly amounting to real help will be based in Bagram.
    Of course if the Taliban takes the country over we will not have to allow our conscience bother us as to how we abandoned people to something as despicable as the radical violent interpretation and practices of Islam inflicted by the Taliban on the rest of the Afghan peoples.
    I know that bothers a lot of my buddies what kind of life are those children, women and friends left behind expect to be able to live under the Taliban’s sharia law tyranny.

  • Paul says:


    We have done nothing to look at the source which is the Koran and the more conservative your country is ie Saudi, Iran and Pakistan the more Islamic you are compared to the likes of Indonesia, Malaysia etc!

    There are people in the muslim world who believe that the Taliban was the closest thing to living in a true Islamic state. Check the foreigners who think the same about the Caliphate in Iraq and Syria and travel there for their Islamic paradise.

    The ones left in the West are only here to conquest/convert us and receive welfare benefits without working which must be the Islamic dream!

    How would they cope in a true Islamic state with no Government handouts?

  • Emmett Till says:

    @Paul Hundreds of millions of Muslims and the majority of the ulema manage to be devoted to the Koran and Sunnah without being terrorists or terrorist apologists/sympathizers.

    But what to do about the large number of delusional and willingly under-informed Muslims with romantic ideas about the Taliban and ISIS? I dunno but I think the response must be a little more nuanced than “Blame the Koran”. There is an unfortunate tendency among more reactionary Westerners to essentially make the argument that “if we could just get together and hate them them hard enough and hold them in enough contempt the problem would solve itself”.


Islamic state



Al shabaab

Boko Haram