Afghan forces withdrew from Chora district’s governor’s compound and police headquarters in the embattled southern province of Uruzgan early today. The Taliban has claimed that Chora is under its control and it has also taken over large areas in both Tarin Kot and Khas Uruzgan districts.
Reuters, based on a statement from a member of the Uruzgan provincial council, reported that “Security forces in Chora district in the middle of the province had abandoned the governor’s compound and police headquarters” however security forces were still battling to control the district. The office of the governor of Uruzgan declared the district is still under government control.
In a statement released on Voice of Jihad, the Taliban’s official website that is published in five languages, the group asserted that “Chora district admiration center, NDS district headquarter and all the 17 defensive check posts were overrun by Mujahideen.” The Taliban also stated that 15 security personnel surrendered and the group seized “a large amount of war spoils and 6 ranger pickups,” and destroyed multiple vehicles used by the security forces.
The loss of Chora occurs just days after the Afghan military announced that it was conducting offensive operations in 10 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces, including Uruzgan, the Afghanistan Times reported. The military maintained that it armed security personnel in Chora, Khas Uruzgan, and Tarin Kot, the provincial capital.
However, the Taliban claimed today that “large areas of Khas Uruzgan district and capital Tarinkot have been purged from [the] enemy.”
The US military previously assessed Chora as “government influenced,” however an assessment by FDD’s Long War Journal listed the province as contested before Afghan forces abandoned the district center. All five of Uruzgan’s districts are directly threatened by the Taliban, according to an assessment by LWJ. Dihrawud, Khas Uruzgan, Shahidi Hassas, and Tarin Kot have been determined to be contested.
The security situation in the south remains bleak. In neighboring Helmand, six of the province’s 13 districts are Taliban controlled, and the other seven are contested. In Kandahar, two of the province’s 16 districts are Taliban controlled and eight more are contested. In Farah, three of the province’s 11 districts are Taliban controlled and six more, including the provincial capital, are contested.
The Taliban has not limited its offensive to one geographical area. It is operating in nearly all of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces, and is directly threatening seven provincial capitals.