Taliban seizes large quantity of weapons during ‘Recent Conquests in Kandahar’

Taliban video shows that it overran and occupied an Afghan military base in Khakrez in late July. The Afghan military claimed it repelled the assault.

The Taliban took a large supply of weapons and ammunition, as well as other military equipment, during recent military operations in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar.

The Taliban video, entitled ‘Recent Conquests in Kandahar,’ was published yesterday on the group’s official website, Voice of Jihad. The video depicted the aftermath of the Taliban overrunning two bases and several small outposts in the districts of Khakrez and Shah Wali Kot during the month of July.

The Taliban overran a large base in Khakrez at the end of July and inflicted a high percentage of casualties on Afghan forces stationed there. Fifty-seven of the 82 Afghan soldiers stationed at the base were killed, wounded or captured during the fighting (26 killed, 13 wounded, and eight captured). [See FDD’s Long War Journal report, Afghan forces sustain heavy casualties in Taliban assault on southern base.]

As in past videos, Taliban paraded its forces in broad daylight. The group operates with little fear of retaliation of airstrikes.

The Afghan military claimed the attack on the base in Khakrez was repelled, however the Taliban video told a different story. The video showed the Taliban in control of the base, with its fighters milling around the facility as their flag was raised.

In both Khakrez and Shah Wali Kot, the group displayed a large haul of rocket propelled grenade launchers, recoilless rifles, mortar tubes, machine guns, M-16s and AK-47 assault rifles. Some of the M-16s had advanced optics and grenade launchers mounted on them. Additionally, the Taliban seized night vision devices as well as crates and boxes of ammunition.

The Taliban also interviewed several captured Afghan troops, some of whom were in uniform with their feet chained.

The Taliban continues to make inroads in Kandahar province. As of March 26, the Taliban claimed to control four of Kandahar’s 18 districts (Ghorak, Miyanashin, Registan, and Shorabak) and heavily contest five more (Arghastan, Khakrez, Maruf, Maiwand, and Shahwalikot). FDD’s Long War Journal assesses the Taliban’s claims of control to be credible. Of the remaining nine districts, the Taliban says it does “not control any specific area” but “only carryout [sic] guerilla attacks.” If the Taliban was exaggerating its control in Kandahar, it likely would claim to control or contest at least some areas of districts such as Panjwai and Zhari. Taliban founder and its first emir, Mullah Omar, founded the Taliban in Panjwai, and Zhari is considered the spiritual home of the group.

Kandahar is a strategic province for the Taliban and is considered to be the birthplace of the group. The province borders Baluchistan, the Pakistani province that serves as the group’s safe haven as well as a prime recruitment center. Kandahar is also a key to the production and distribution of opium, a major source of the Taliban’s income.

The Taliban, which remains closely allied with al Qaeda, has taken advantage of the security situation in Kandahar province to established bases. Up until Oct. 2015, al Qaeda ran two large training camps in Shorabak district. US forces killed more than 150 al Qaeda fighters while raiding the camps.

Video showing weapons seized in Khakrez:

Video of Taliban fighters marching in the open:

Images from the Taliban video ‘Recent Conquest of Kandahar’

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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8 Comments

  • Paddy Singh says:

    It makes one laugh to see the ragtag army defeat an army trained and equipped by the mighty Yanks. But then the same Yanks were defeated by a barefoot army on bicycles in Vietnam.

  • Ted Hitchcock says:

    If you get a chance to in an upcoming post, could you give us a few words on the significance of this type of arms capture? In the last 37 years a tremendous amount of weaponry has been delivered into Afghanistan. There have to be several assault rifles and RPG launchers per Afghan at this point. Ammunition gets used up. Do weapons? Are new US M4’s enough better than vintage AK47’s to make a difference? Does the raw dollar value of captured weapons figure into the calculation? I don’t have the chops to figure it out for myself.

  • york says:

    where are the drones when we need them? “march in the open!”

  • Will Larsen says:

    Funny considering ragtag Yanks brought down the mighty British empire. And then saved them a few times.

  • Mike Smith says:

    The Pentagon’s “eroding stalemate” is one of my all-time favorite oxymorons.

  • Frank Dunn says:

    Lack of US and Afghan air support and medical evacuation helicopters will not bolster Afghan Army morale or help enlistments and retention plans. Will surely lead to more Afghan refugees flooding into Europe and pleas from Sec of Defense Mattis to allow more Afghan interpreters and their families into the US.

    If we are to send more US troops to Afghanistan, dominant units have to be from Air Force (A-10s, C-130 gunships & drones, lots of drones) and helicopter attack and medi evac units. Sending foot soldiers has to be last option. Question then is: do we have enough Air Force pilots to spare? AF is already short 750 fighter pilots and this shortage is increasing.

  • Charles Banks says:

    Paddy Signh funny how the Brits were smushed like bugs here 137 years prior.

    As to the article, the captured Afghan troops not looking too happy, one one second left does not look very Afghan at all.

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