Afghan official ‘happy’ Taliban controls 219 schools in Herat

The Taliban currently controls more than 20 percent of the schools in Herat, and the chairman of the western Afghanistan province’s education department is “happy” with the result.

Ahmad Razaq Ahmadi, the chairman of Herat’s department of education, disclosed that the Taliban controls 219 of the province’s 969 schools, or nearly 23 percent, according to TOLONews. Ahmadi said his department is unable to administer schools in the districts of Adraskan, Ghoryan, Koshki Kohna, Obe, and Shindand “due to the high level of security threats.”

“In areas where there are security threats, the Taliban undertakes the monitoring, our employees can not undertake monitoring of these schools, therefore the Taliban are monitoring the schools in areas under their control,” Ahmadi said. He then praised the Taliban for administering the schools.

“We are happy with the monitoring by the Taliban, because at least they monitor the schools, for instance, the information which we have from the people in Koshki Kohna district, the Taliban monitor the schools and they control tensions at schools; we are very happy with this work of the Taliban,” added Ahmadi.

Ahmadi’s disturbing comments reflect a growing attitude of accommodation of the Taliban. As the Taliban has increased its influence in all quarters of the country and has had significant battlefield gains in less populated areas over the past three years, some Afghans view the return of the Taliban to be inevitable.

Mapping Taliban and government control

The report on the status of Herat’s schools highlights the difficulties in attempting to determine control of Afghanistan’s 407 districts.

Of the five districts mentioned by Ahmadi, four — Adraskan, Ghoryan, Koshki Kohna, and Shindand — were previously determined by FDD’s Long War Journal to be contested by the Taliban. Obe, which was assessed to be government controlled or status undetermined, has since been switched to contested.

While the five districts are currently listed as contested, it could be argued that the Taliban’s administration of schools and ability to keep them off limits to government officials indicates a high degree of control of the district.

Currently, FDD’s Long War Journal has determined that the Taliban controls 45 districts and contests another 115. These totals are close to the estimate by the US Special Investigator General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. The Taliban claims a measure of control in 24 additional districts . These claims cannot be independently verified, however the Taliban has been accurate in its reporting of district control in the past. The remaining 223 districts (grey on the map) are either government controlled or, like until today, Herat’s Obe district, their status is unknown.

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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  • Dick Scott says:

    It is good that they are keeping the schools open since in some other contested areas the schools have been closed down. And during the time of the Taliban government they were NOT noted for being corrupt but were trying to be an effective people supporting government. But they were very ineffective as government (in Helmand at least) as they had no training or experience in governing and no funding to do virtually anything..

  • Charles Kimberl says:

    So, this is from a moron that the U.S. has been attempting to ‘help’ for the last seventeen years? It appears we have not made much progress.

  • Birbal Dhar says:

    The Taliban are there because of Pakistan. Without Pakistan, Afghanistan wouldn’t suffer the misery of the Taliban. The Americans can’t be in Afghanistan forever, because of geography and financial reasons, but the Pakistan’s don’t need to be in Afghanistan, because they can use the Taliban from their territory to cross the border. The only way that the Taliban can be defeated or reduce power is to put sanctions on the country that supports it, which is Pakistan. Basically put a high cost on Pakistan, so that they realise that it’s not financially or economically beneficial for them to support the Taliban. Without the high cost, Afghanistan will get worse.

  • conradswims says:

    So! Does this mean we wasted our time and blood and treasure?

  • Ted Hitchcock says:

    Only in Afghanistan. Heratis are deal makers and keen on schooling. Trust them, bureaucrat or Talib, war or not, to cook up a way to keep the money flowing and the teachers showing up to work.

    Thank you for going into that detail on what those mapped numbers indicate. I’m a fan of your independent read on the controlled/contested question, and it’s reassuring to see the level of thought that has gone into it.

  • Richard Loewe says:

    “Ahmadi’s disturbing comments reflect a growing attitude of accommodation of the Taliban.” I suppose you are commenting on the attitude of the Allies. The US and its allies have created the “Islamic Republic of Afghanistan”, have trained the police how to effectively implement sharia law, made sure that sharia law is the guiding principle of the constitution and so on and so forth.

    I get that especially for the US it is difficult to say that so many brave servicemen have died for all of this. What I do not get is how they justify that MORE soldiers are killed for establishing what is effectively a caliphate. There isn’t even a cynical “but there is oil!” excuse for any civilised person to be in Afghanistan. Destroying training camps for jihadis that want to fight the far enemy can be easily done from the air. The Taliban would get tired of the air campaign and would fight these jihadis themselves.

    I wrote letters for my general to the loved ones of those who have fallen in Afghanistan. My impression was that the general didn’t give a shit. It was the cost others had to pay for his third star.

  • Telh says:

    Gunna be some doozie graduates from these schools.

  • PS says:

    Can you do an analysis on the impact of the current contested/controlled areas against the 7 July 2018 Provincial elections and the subsequent presidential election in 2019? These two strategic events are critical to future stabilization. Also in terms of stabilization, is the continuing growth of opium production. What is the solution? Thank you.

  • irebukeu says:

    Sounds like the man is trying to justify his expenditures and budget. Corrupt officials in Kabul might want to know where all the school money is going since they too have deep pockets that can be overfilled. By the way, what is the status of education in the districts that are controlled by the Taliban? Are girls being educated ? Is there one policy in all areas?


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