Taliban overruns district center in northeastern Afghanistan

The Taliban overran the district of Kohistan in the remote northeastern province of Badakhshan last evening after laying siege to it for several days. Kohistan is the second district in the north to fall under Taliban control in the past week.

Taliban fighters “surrounded the district for the past two days” before overrunning it, TOLONews reported. The district fell due to “the lack of reinforcement troops needed” to defend it. The Taliban claimed it killed 29 Afghan security personnel during the fighting.

Resolute Support, NATO’s command in Afghanistan, assessed Kohistan as “government influenced,” according to a report by the Special Investigator General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.

Badakhshan is a province which, prior to the US surge that ended in 2014, had previously seen a minimal Taliban presence. After Resolute Support transferred security to Afghan forces in the summer of 2014, Taliban influence in Badakhshan has exploded.

Today, the Taliban controls three of Badakhshan’s 29 districts (Kohistan, Warduj, and Yamagan) and contests 11 more, according to data compiled by FDD’s Long War Journal. Warduj and Yamagan have been under the control of the Taliban for the past 4 years, according to TOLONews. The Taliban are reported to be pressing hard in the districts of Raghistan, Shuhada, and Tashkan, which are currently contested.

Resolute Support has assessed the remaining districts as government influenced. LWJ maintains that the “influenced” assessment is somewhat meaningless and equates to contested, as the government is not in full control of a district. [See Mapping Taliban Control in Afghanistan for the full explanation.]

Kohistan is the second district to fall under the Taliban’s control in only the past week. On April 28, the Taliban overran Qala-i-Zal district in Kunduz province.

Afghan security forces, backed by US and NATO forces numbering around 21,500 troops, has struggled to contain the Taliban insurgency. The Taliban currently controls 41 of Afghanistan’s 407 districts and contests 201 more, according to data compiled by LWJ.

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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5 Comments

  • Paddy Singh says:

    What a waste of innocent lives in over a decade, what a pathetic and weak willed invasion by a superficial and weak kneed power and what a disastrously followed foreign policy over not only this war but over the last 4 decades

    • ELKHORNTAVERN says:

      Poor foreign policy combined with an apathetic population leads to what we have now…

  • irebukeu says:

    At what point does it become impossible to recruit Afghans? Money will be the answer for that problem and the Afghans have none. Where will they get it?
    Money is what the Afghans need and they will use every way to get it.
    I expect at some point the Taliban and the ANA will be operating in the same areas and fighting by arrangement. The same as was done under the Soviets. This will be the most dangerous time for any coalition forces. Talibs will get warnings about operations, and doors will be left unlocked. When the Taliban need new trucks the ANA will leave some with the keys.
    The Taliban are gaining and the Afghan people know it.
    Cooperation with the Taliban for Afghans will be a currency and offering up information on Americans or actually targeting them will bring a huge bonus, free captive relatives taken for the purpose, or forgive past wrongs in this 17 year war.
    At same point the fulcrum will be reached and the exodus from the State system will increase.
    While there are reasons to stay in Afghanistan I don’t quite understand or agree with any of them.
    We are either going to go back in again to win, get out, or muddle on. Two of those choices requires truth and honesty about the situation and huge leadership from the POTUS or congress. I’m afraid the third option will be the solution found again since hard found honesty is not needed. Only disaster in Kabul or Parwan province will make the situation clear.

    • Observer 1 says:

      It is all ready nearly impossible to recruit Afghans. A year ago, journalists reported on extensive war fatigue by those in the military and among “police”. Then suddenly the marketing-scheme changed and this discussion simply ended. The publicly-stated problem vanished from the media. That said, young men and teens are often forced into this war not by the military, but by the Taliban and ISIS-K, if you include coercion by family then surely also related insurgent groups. Fathers have been killed for not providing their sons on demand. Sons have been killed for not cooperating when the demand for the oldest (living) son has been made. But as far as having money, google the two words Afghanistan and Corrupt. The money has been there. It has just been used to personally maintain heirarchies that pre-existed this government, and to pad the pockets of power-brokers which includes payments to insurgents if need be. I read one article about a member of government who travelled to one of the Arabic-owned nations and they found over $50,000,000 (U.S.) in his suitcase! Can you imagine how far that money could have gone toward training and employing sound-minded government supporters to play active roles in preserving or creating the peace? But therein lies the other rub – they really do threaten, kidnap, torture and kill those even loosely affiliated with supporting the government which is seen as promoting the west. Currently, it is a lose-lose situation. And if I had any sons in Afghanistan, I would be hard-pressed to encourage them to stay and fight. Certainly no easy answers here!!

  • Nick Mastrovito says:

    This remains an Afghan problem. The populace has a vote even if they don’t have the means to fight the Taliban, they must first have the will. NATO & the US can only be an enabling force. Complete occupation by NATO/US won’t work. Our stake in Afghanistan is to prevent the return of a terrorist sanctuary but if the populace doesn’t have the will to eject the Taliban and global terrorists, we will have to be content with the status quo.

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