Afghan forces recapture northern district from Taliban

Afghan forces recaptured the Kohistan district in the remote northern province of Badakhshan only two days after it fell to the Taliban.

“Afghan commandos and special forces” retook the district last evening. ATN News reported. A spokesman for the Afghan ministry of defense claimed that the Taliban “suffered heavy casualties during the offensive,” however, no estimate of Taliban casualties was given.

The Taliban did not comment on the reports that it lost control of the Kohistan district center. The Taliban did claim it killed “12 Arbaki,” or tribal fighters loyal to the government, while it “counterattacked the enemy operation backed by the U.S aerial support” on May 4, “triggering heavy fighting in Daraim [Darayim district] and Tishgan [likely Tashkan district]”.

Kohistan, which was previously assessed by Resolute Support, NATO’s command in Afghanistan, as “government influenced,” fell on May 3 after the Taliban surrounded it and assaulted the district center for two days. Afghan military and police forces were unable to reinforce troops at the district center before it fell.

Afghan special forces routinely liberate district centers after they fall to the Taliban. However, once the Afghan special forces withdraw to deal with the next hot spot, the Taliban often return to harass and sometimes retake the district center as regular military and police forces are usually too weak to hold them.

The Taliban controls two of Badakhshan’s 29 districts (Warduj and Yamagan) and contests 12 more, including Kohistan, according to data compiled by FDD’s Long War Journal. Warduj and Yamagan have been under the control of the Taliban for the past four years, according to TOLONews. The Taliban are reported to be pressing hard in the districts of Raghistan, Shuhada, and Tashkan, which are currently contested.

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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