The Afghan Taliban overran an Afghan military base and paraded its troops through the bazaar in Kajaki in northern Helmand province, the jihadist group claimed.
The Taliban made the claim in a video produced by Al Emarah and released on Voice of Jihad, its official propaganda outlet. Images from the video were also compiled by a Taliban-linked Twitter account.
The release, entitled “Azm Operations in Helmand Province, Graveyard of the British Empire,” shows a suicide bombing on an Afghan military checkpoint and a mortar attack on the base in the southern Afghan province. In one scene, several US-made Humvees are used by the Taliban. A Humvee and several weapons were taken as “spoils” from the battle.
After taking over the base, the jihadists then claimed to have taken over large portions of Kajaki. The release shows images of fighters parading through the district, including Kajaki’s bazaar.
The Long War Journal is not able to independently confirm the Taliban’s video, however the security situation in the northern district has steadily deteriorated over the past several months.
Last month, security forces were said to be preparing to retake areas in Kajaki that had previously been lost to the Taliban. However, it was reported last week that the group still controls the main road into the district center.
A Helmand provincial council member told Pajhwok Afghan News that the “Taliban have captured all areas [in Kajaki] and hundreds of foreign militants can be seen roaming the area.” He then said that the district will be under the control of the Taliban completely if the military does not launch a counter-attack.
The battles in Helmand are part of the Taliban’s Azm [steadfast] offensive, which began earlier this year. The fighting that has garnered most of the reporting in the Western press has taken place in the northern Afghan province of Kunduz. The Taliban launched a coordinated offensive to seize control of Kunduz at the end of April. The districts of Imam Sahib, Aliabad, and Qala-i-Zal were overrun in the initial assault. The current 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.]
The Taliban also claimed to have taken control of Dasht-i-Archi and Chardara district, but one day after making this claim the Afghan government said it still controlled Chardara. To refute the government’s claims, the Taliban released a video showing its forces in Chardara district. [See LWJ report, Taliban refutes government claims of recapturing Chardara district.]
The photos can be seen below:
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