Taliban seizes cache of weapons after overrunning district in Kandahar

screen-shot-2016-12-01-at-9-51-42-am

When the Taliban assaulted the district of Ghorak in Kandahar last month, it seized a number of US-made weapons that were supplied to the Afghan security forces from a base that was overrun. Additionally, a number of Afghan soldiers were killed during a nighttime assault that was captured on video.

The Taliban released a video, entitled “The Conquest of Ghorak” on its propaganda website, Voice of Jihad, on Nov. 29. The jihadist group claimed it overran Ghorak’s district center on Nov. 19 however this has not been confirmed in the Afghan press. The video gives credence to the Taliban’s claim.

The Taliban assaulted a base outside of the town of Ghorak that appears to have been manned by a company of Afghan troops during the night of Nov. 18. After heavy fighting, which was captured on a video at a distance through a night vision camera, Taliban fighters entered the base. The bodies of dozens of Afghan troops are seen laying on the ground throughout the base.

After the battle, the Taliban displayed M-16 rifles, some with grenade launchers mounted, M-249 light machine guns, and rocket-propelled grenade launchers. Additionally, the Taliban walked away with crates filled with RPG rounds and ammunition for the rifles and machine guns. Several Taliban fighters were also spotted wearing night vision goggles; it is unclear if the devices were taken from Afghan troops during the assault, or if the fighters used them during the attack.

Ghorak is situated along a belt of Taliban-controlled or contested districts in southern Afghanistan that spans the provinces of Farah, Helmand, Uruzgan and Kandahar. The Taliban has used this southern safe haven to directly threaten the capitals of Farah, Helmand, and Uruzgan. Afghan forces, backed by US advisers and airstrikes, have struggled to stave off Taliban offensives against the capitals of these three provinces.

Images from the “The Conquest of Ghorak”

screen-shot-2016-12-01-at-9-51-29-am

screen-shot-2016-12-01-at-9-51-58-am

screen-shot-2016-12-01-at-9-50-37-am

screen-shot-2016-12-01-at-9-50-19-am

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

2 Comments

  • Arjuna says:

    Nothing special on the rifles. Looks like a few M-60s that are serviceable. Reminds me of Islamic State grabbing all the Iraqis’ gear we gave them. Can’t have a good war unless your enemy has some firepower, right boys?
    How about we let the TB guard critical infrastructure?
    //www.voanews.com/a/kabul-skeptical-of-afghan-taliban-vow-protect-new-infrastructure-projects/3617005.html
    Just when you think AFG can’t get any crazier, it does. Is Hanoi John pushing this lousy deal too?

  • irebukeu says:

    Wow. What we can we say at this point?
    So I watched the taliban video. At the 20.04 mark they show the inside of the base in daylight from one of those giant sandbags that are used now and the base seemed to me to be a deathtrap of open space. I didn’t see anything that might provide decent cover on the inside from anything explosive that might find its way to the inside. It looks to me that one experienced mortar team could, pretty much, clear the base with one donkey load of shells.

Iraq

Islamic state

Syria

Aqap

Al shabaab

Boko Haram

Isis