Taliban overruns another 2 districts in Afghan north

As fighting in the city of Kunduz continues, the Taliban seized two more districts in the Afghan north.`The district of Wardoj, which has switched hands in the past, and Baharak were overrun during Taliban assaults over the past two days, the jihadist group and Afghan officials reported.

The Taliban said it “launched coordinated attacks on enemy positions” in the district yesterday morning, which culminated in the capture of the district center, the administration center, and dozens of bases and outposts. The claim was published on Voice of Jihad, the Taliban’s official website.

The Taliban claimed it killed 50 Afghan security personnel while losing three of its own fighters, and captured “2 APCs [armored personnel carriers, likely Humvees], 2 pickup trucks, a ZPU-1 gun, 3 Dshk heavy machine guns, 2 mortar tubes and a sizable amount of other arms and ammunition.” The Taliban routinely inflate the number of Afghan personnel killed during an engagement.

Dawlat Mohammad Khawar, the district governor for Wardoj, “confirmed that the Afghan security forces have retreated from Wardoj following hours of gun battle with the Taliban militants,” Khaama Press reported.

Additionally, the Taliban overran the Baharak district in Badakhsan. “On Friday Mujahideen stormed the district and after intense fighting with the enemy and soon seized control of the district as well as overrunning a number of the checkpoints based near the district headquarters for the security arrangements,” the Taliban stated on Voice of Jihad.

Badakhshan has become increasingly unstable over the past several years. Both the Taliban and the allied Islamic Jihad Union have been active in Badakhshan. The district of Yamgan is said to be under Taliban control since late June 2015, while the districts of Argo, Jurm, and Kishim are considered to be contested.

Wardoj and Baharak are the latest districts to fall to the Taliban since the provincial capital of Kunduz was overrun on Sept. 28. The Taliban has seized 10 districts in five provinces (Wardoj and Baharak in Badakhshan; Khak-e-Safid in Farah; Khwaja Ghar, Yangi Qala, Ishkamish, and Bangi districts in Takhar; Khanabad and Qala-i-Zal in Kunduz; and Talaw Barfak in Baghlan), as well as the provincial capital of Kunduz in the span of span of five days.

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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7 Comments

  • mike merlo says:

    geez Wardoj District. You gotta be kidding me. There’s nothing there. That’s like the equivalent of a bunch of bandit’s or outlaws taking over Denali National Park in Alaska or Death Valley in the Mojave Desert. There’s maybe 20,000 people scattered about one of the most inhospitable Districts in Afghanistan.

    Once the Afghan Security Forces have finished securing all these northern areas there is going to be some serious payback directed at the Taliban & their hosts the Pakistani’s. Whatever good will the Taliban may have engendered prior to this Fall Offensive is finished. The people Afghanistan know this for what it is: just a criminal mob wrecking havoc in their country.

  • m3fd2002 says:

    I am shocked! Seriously, is there anyone on this board who didn’t see this coming? If not, I like to hear your perspective.

    • mike merlo says:

      @ m3fd2002

      I figured on these guys putting something together like this to finish out the fighting season but not of this magnitude. I wonder how much the infighting due to Mullah Omar’s dying in secret 2 1/2 years ago & just recently coming out into the open impacted the recent events. In retrospect with this recent debacle in Kunduz with the follow on havoc in its wake rippling through Northern Afghanistan has me wondering if the not so long ago suicide bombings in Kabul were executed sooner than they wanted because of the level of mistrust & dissension that had been sown due to the way the death of Omar was revealed & the course manner in which his successor was ‘nominated.’

      Putting all these past pieces together & other information coming out its beginning to look like to me like Afghanistan really dodged a potentially catastrophic event. I found this recent article particularly disconcerting.
      //www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-39981-Who-is-behind-the-chaos-in-Kunduz
      As things presently stand I’m 100% sure the Afghan Security Forces will have much of what’s transpired constructively dealt with from a Military/Security perspective. From a Political perspective its obvious that Ghani & Abdullah have some serious issues between them & if they don’t resolve them very very soon Afghanistan could easily have something from the Post Soviet Years Pre Taliban Years repeat itself.

      Probably the biggest thing benefiting Afghanistan right now besides their Security Forces, NDS, the overall gutsy timbre of the Afghan people & US Military in country presence is the infighting taking place between the Forces that oppose Afghanistan & the fighting taking place between competing opposition Forces. I’ve yet to confirm the validity of the following article but its something I’ve suspected in the offing since ISIS/ISIL showed up in Afghanistan.
      //www.khaama.com/hekmatyars-party-to-support-isis-in-fight-against-taliban-1250

      • Arjuna says:

        First article was interesting but nothing a Pakistani writes can be taken at face value, so I question everything. Especially coming from The News which is mucho ISPR influenced. The ISI is making Pakistan impossible to govern, as if it wasn’t already with the current crazy dual CEO/no defense chief set-up.

        The big diff bw AFG and Iraq is the will of the National Army, which I see as quite strong in the former and utterly lacking in the latter. Taliban may have a hard time hanging onto big cities like Kunduz, but the country will fall into outright chaos and civil war sooner rather than later, even with 2,500-5,000 troops left alongside the 35,000 (!?) contractors.
        This war is going to become a largely merc matter (as least insofar as the invaders are concerned) post-2016. It will bear watching if the contractors lose their chains of command and go maverick/rogue.

        • mike merlo says:

          @ Arjuna

          I don’t ‘see’ Russia, India, Iran, Communist China & other Members & Observers of the SCO responding as slowly to developments in Afghanistan as they did during the 90’s. I agree with you 100% about Afghan Security Forces & I’m sure the aforementioned Nations recognize the same. They’ll be sure to assist the Afghan Security Forces as needed.

          Based on the US Administration & its so-called Coalitions’ tepid response to date in the Syrian Iraqi Theater I’m sure the aforementioned Nations have taken ‘note’ & will not sit idly by while Afghanistan’s Allies dither, diddle & muddle their way through Afghanistan.

        • Turg Beg says:

          A blanket denial of credibility based on the writer’s nationality and you’ll find that it’s your credibility being questioned.

  • Arjuna says:

    Doh, I meant Afghanistan in that second sentence

Iraq

Islamic state

Syria

Aqap

Al shabaab

Boko Haram

Isis