The Afghan Taliban has again retaken control of the district of Ghormach in Faryab province. The remote district has changed hands several times since late 2014.
From the Taliban statement at Voice of Jihad:
Amid ongoing ‘Operation Mansouri’, Mujahideen launched coordinated assaults on Ghormach district administration center, police headquarter and all the surroundings defensive check posts overnight.
Attacks of heavy and light arms that lasted intensively till midday today, overrunning 13 defensive check posts, police headquarter and district center entirely, inflecting serious tolls to enemy as well as seizing a sizable amount of war spoils.
Enemy is currently under tight besiege of Mujahideen in a military base at a distance of 4 kilometers from the said district center.
The district chief of police is denying Ghormach fell to the Taliban, but that is likely because Afghan forces made a “tactical retreat” to a base outside the district center. From TOLONews:
Ghormach district of Faryab province fallen to the Taliban on Sunday, a source told TOLOnews.
Faryab’s police chief Dilwar Shah Dilawar denied the development but said security forces had made a tactical retreat from the district.
Dilawar said that clashes between security forces and the Taliban started in the district on Saturday night and are ongoing.
He also said so far there have been no reports of casualties.
Ghormach has traded leadership two times since the Fall of 2015. In Oct. 2015, the Taliban seized the district center and held it for one week before Afghan forces regained control. And again, in Oct. 2016, the Taliban took control of Ghormach and occupied it for a short period of time before Afghan forces re-entered the district center. The district has been contested ever since, as the Taliban kept its forces on the outskirts of the district center.
When Ghormach fell in Oct. 2016, FDD’s Long War Journal noted the following:
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.
Sadly, little has improved in the ten months since that was written. Afghan commandos continue to be tasked with serving as a quick reaction force that are quickly redeployed after liberating a district, leaving behind ill-equipped Afghan security forces that often buckle to the Taliban.