Taliban video shows fighters entering valley after Afghan forces retreat

 

The Taliban released video of its forces entering the Fanduqistan Valley in Afghanistan’s central province of Parwan after Afghan forces retreated. The Taliban operation took place in the contested district of Ghorbund.

The video, release on Voice of Jihad, the Taliban’s official website, shows Afghan forces retreating from mountaintop outposts and abandoning the village below after coming under attack by Taliban forces. US supplied HUMVEEs and other vehicles race from the outpost and through the village as Taliban fighters fire on them. A military helicopter is shown flying over the town but it is unclear if it fired on the Taliban.

After the Afghan forces leave, the fighters march into the town on foot, carrying the white flag of the Taliban. The fighters then loot the village and display their war bounty. The retreating Afghan forces appear to have taken all of their weapons with them, but left a large supply of ammunition, radios, uniforms, cold weather gear, body armor, and other supplies.

The video is not dated, however the Taliban is reported to have taken control of the Fanduqistan Valley sometime during Sept. 2017. The Afghan military claimed it retook the valley on Oct. 4 “following a five-day battle,” Pajhwok Afghan News reported. The Taliban dispute these claims and Afghan officials have said all of the valley has not been retaken by Afghan forces.

The Fanduqistan Valley is in Ghorbund district, which is also known as Sia Gird. The district is only 30 miles north of the Afghan capital of Kabul and is adjacent to Bagram, where the US military operates its largest base. Two of Parwan province’s 10 districts (Ghorbund and Shinwari) are contested, according to an assessment by FDD’s Long War Journal.

The video on the Fanduqistan Valley is the latest in a series of Taliban propaganda that touts the group’s successes against Afghan security forces. The Taliban has made significant gains and controls 45 and contests another 115 of Afghanistan 407 districts. A recent report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) confirmed the downward trend in Afghan government control that has been noted in ongoing analysis by FDD’s Long War Journal. In its Oct. 30 report, SIGAR noted that Afghan government control of its districts has “deteriorated to its lowest level since SIGAR began analyzing district-control data in December 2015 and population-control data in September 2016.”

 

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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