While much of the reporting from Afghanistan has been focusing on Taliban offensives in Kunduz and Helmand, the jihadist group has been active in other areas of the country. Both Taliban and Afghan officials said that the district of Ghormach in Faryab province has fallen to the jihadist group over the past 24 hours. From the Taliban statement at Voice of Jihad:
At around 8:00 pm local time on Monday heroic Mujahideen of Islamic Emirate launched coordinated attacks on Ghormach district administration center, police station and other installation.
Attacks of heavy and light arms left the district administration center, police HQ and other installations completely overrun, inflecting serious casualties to enemy, the details of which will be updated later.
According to Afghan officials, Afghan forces abandoned the district’s administrative center. From Khaama Press:
The Taliban militants have captured Ghormach district in northern Faryba [sic] province of Afghanistan, local officials said Tuesday.
The officials further added that the control of the district fell to Taliban after the Afghan security forces retreated from the area.
A provincial council member Syed Abdul Baqi Hashemi confirmed the Taliban militants captured the district after heavy clashes with the security forces.
Ghormach has changed hands before. In October 2015, the Taliban seized the district center and held it for a week before Afghan forces regained control. The district has been contested ever since.
The situation in Ghormach is not unique in Afghanistan. Scores of districts routinely switch between the Taliban and Afghan forces, which are struggling to fight the group on multiple fronts. The Washington Post noted last week that Afghan commandos, who have been trained to hunt jihadists leaders, have been pressed into service as regular infantryman and are fighting the battles that regular Afghan units can’t or won’t fight. The Afghan commandos are in short supply, and once they retake a district, they are redeployed to put out the next Taliban fire. The Taliban then moves back into the areas liberated by the commandos. This pattern erodes the legitimacy of both the Afghan government and its security forces.
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