Afghan forces cede Faryab district to the Taliban

Afghan security forces ceded control of the district of Ghormach in Faryab province after being besieged by the Taliban. The Afghan military’s weak grip on remote areas of the country forced the government to punt again on another district.

Ghormach “completely fell into the hands of Taliban insurgents on Monday after security forces exited the town,” Pajhwok Afghan News reported, based on comments by anonymous Afghan officials. The Taliban ambushed Afghan forces as they left the district and killed three soldiers, according to ATN News. Afghan military officials claimed that 50 Taliban fighters, including two commanders, were killed in retaliatory airstrikes.

The Taliban, in a statement on its official website, Voice of Jihad, reported that “those enemy troops who were under siege of Mujahideen for the last one year following the conquest of Ghormach district center and other installations, fled earlier today through invaders aircraft, bringing the whole district under complete control of Mujahideen.”

Ghormach has switched hands several times in the past year. Most recently, the Taliban overran Ghormach in Aug. 2017. Afghan forces were able to retake the district center, but held little else in the district. The Taliban surrounded the administrative seat and besieged Afghan forces stationed there.

The fall of Ghormach was all but certain after the Taliban overran the Chenayeeha (or Chinese) base in the district on Aug. 11. More than 40 Afghan soldiers surrendered to the Taliban after the base was besieged for 48 hours. At least 43 soldiers were killed and 17 more were captured in the fighting that led up to the surrender. [See LWJ report, In Afghan north, soldiers surrender to Taliban after base is cut off.]

Afghan forces have taken heavy casualties in Ghormach, according to Naqibullah Faiq, Faryab’s governor. According to Faiq, an estimated “1,000 Afghan forces have been killed over the past three years” in the district, Pajhwok reported.

Faryab province, like many provinces in Afghanistan, has been hotly contested by the Taliban. Of Faryab’s 15 districts, four are Taliban controlled, four are government controlled, and seven are contested, according to an ongoing study by FDD’s Long War Journal.

The Taliban has used its prowess in Afghanistan’s rural areas to harass Afghan forces and force them to defend remote bases and outposts. The Taliban routinely attacks and overruns these remote bases, as well as remote districts. Resolute Support, NATO’s command in Afghanistan, has recommended that the Afghan military withdraw from more remote outposts in order to defend more populous areas. The Taliban, in turn, has leveraged remote areas under its control to attack more populated areas. Additionally, the withdrawal of Afghan forces from remote areas of the country has eroded Afghan’s confidence in the government’s ability to defend them from the Taliban.

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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7 Comments

  • Jersey Dave says:

    It has been more than 15 years, either get serious and nuke them or say our buildings are fair game. Nuke them or do something else that is serious and will win the war. WW2 was over less than 5 years after he U.S. got into it, because we played serious. Play serious here. Fighting with both hands behind our back is stupid.

  • ray says:

    good! now carpet bomb them!

  • Jawad Habib says:

    Both the Talibans or insurgents and Afghan National Army are one from the origin. But they are unfortunately cruelly used by the opponent nations for their own objectives. Unlimited and non-directional war in Afghanistan is not only the result of the foreigners activities, but it is due to our own (Afghans) circumstances. No unity exists among us. We are separateon every occasion.

  • Jawad Habib says:

    War in Afghanistan is due to the foreigners existence, their interruption in every moment and also due to our (Afghans) disunity. Wish independent and prosperous Afghanistan.

  • Jawad Habib says:

    The unlimited war and insecurity in Afghanistan is due to our own activities as well as due to the foreigners. Let us to make independent Afghanistan.

  • Real Man says:

    America has been defeated by Afghan peasants. It is the fact. The real matter is that how long it takes for America to accept the ground reality. The longer it stays, the deeper its grave will be.

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