Faryab capital under Taliban threat as Afghan troops desert bases

Afghan officials are warning that Maimana, the capital of Faryab province, is in danger of a Taliban incursion. Security in the northern province continues to worsen as Afghan forces have abandoned some bases and outposts around the city.

Naqibullah Fayiq, the governor of Faryab, said that “The majority of areas [in Faryab province] are under control of the Taliban,” and that the Taliban is poised on the outskirts of Maimana, TOLONews reported.

Fayiq offered a stinging rebuke of Afghan officials, who he claims put on a show for “the delegation” (presumably other officials from Kabul) and opened the roads to Maimana to show Afghan President Arshaf Ghani that the security situation in the province is positive.

“I want to mention that sadly the delegation which visits here (Faryab), they (local officials) try to open routes to make a report for the president via a video conference to show that the roads are open. But when they leave Maimana in their helicopters, the roads are closed once again,” he said, according to TOLONews. “This leaves us and the people prone to security threats and in an under-siege situation.”

Fayiq’s warning about the situation in Maimana occurred as Afghan forces suffered a defeat in Ghormach district. Afghan troops withdrew from the besieged district center earlier this week and were ambushed by the Taliban on the way out. More than 20 Afghan soldiers were reportedly killed in the attack.

Afghan troops also “left their bases in the Qaisar-Almar and Maimana-Jawzjan highways and have stationed themselves at other bases in district centers in the last few days,” local Afghan officials told TOLONews.

Afghan military officers said there are no problems and that the abandonment of the bases was all part of plan.

“Outposts were in bad condition. They (the soldiers) were ordered to leave the bases to receive better training and equipment,” General Amanullah Mobib, the Commander of 209 Shaheen Army Corps claimed.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defense claimed that the troops in Faryab evacuated their bases as part of “the four-year security plan which will become a six-year plan … there is no other issue.”

Taliban threatens at least nine provinces

Maimana is one of seven provincial capitals that were identified in May by the Afghan Ministry of Defense as being under direct Taliban threat. The others are Farah City, Faizabad in Badakhshan, Ghazni City, Tarin Kot in Uruzgan, Kunduz City, and Pul-i-Khumri in Baghlan. The Taliban briefly overran Farah and Ghazni Cities in May and August, respectively.

Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand, while not on that list, is also threatened by the Taliban. Just this week, it was disclosed that Afghan forces are battling to clear the Taliban from Police District 4 within the provincial capital. The Taliban has controlled this area of Lashkar Gah for nearly two years.

Afghan officials ware beginning to raise warning flags that the Taliban is planning to attack Gardez, the provincial capital of Paktia. A member of Paktia provincial council reportedly said “almost all the districts of the province are under threat.”

The Taliban has taken advantage of its strength in Afghanistan’s rural areas as well as its safe havens inside Pakistan to threaten Afghanistan’s major population centers.

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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  • Paddy Singh says:

    Tactical retreat????

  • anan says:

    Lashkar Gah is not currently threatened by the Taliban. The Taliban have decided to focus elsewhere for the time being since MoD, NDS and Resolute Force have prioritized 215th Corps and Helmand.

    The redeployment of forces from Loya Paktia to Ghazni city is worrying. I don’t think Gardez is currently under threat. 203rd ANA Corps will return troops from Ghazni to Paktia.

    The attack on Ghazni appears to have been organized by ISI Directorate. Does anyone have any information about where the Taliban and Pakistani proxies redeployed to from Ghazni? The fight in Loya Paktia and Ghazni is close to a de facto war between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    The Afghan government doesn’t value Faryab the way they value Loya Paktia, Ghazni, Kunduz city, and Faizabad. These places will not be allowed to be seriously threatened.

    It is unclear to me if 209th ANA Corps will redeploy forces to Faryab. Their priorities remain Badakshan and Kunduz.

  • Nick Mastrovito says:

    The problem is that we’re trying to make the ANA/ANP/ANASOC a modern military/security force when we should allow them to fight like the Taliban. We also have the problem of logistics. If the Afghan military had to forage, they’d be a 1000 per cent more efficient or if they would hand over logistics to UPS, it would get done. Instead, we’re trying to teach basic logistics to a country that has no concept of logistics- we’re idiots. If we gave them 5 retired Green Berets, the Afghan Govt would defeat the Taliban and ISIS-K in 5 mins!

  • James says:

    Thanks Nick for the insights. Who was it that said: “It ain’t over till it’s over”? Or, who said, “never say never”? The way I see it, there’s no military solution because it isn’t a military problem in the first place. It’s the bureaucrats and civilians (including the ones in our own gov’t) that are screwing things up over there.

    Hey, to those of you who complained about US not having a ‘Plan B’ when we went in, what’s going to be the ‘Plan B’ if/when we exit? We may just have to go back to square one in this thing.

    I still say that if you want to “grab the tiger by the tail” in this thing then go after the opium trade. The ‘tiger’ is the opium. Sure, the Taliban may be dancing in the streets of Kabul if they get their way and we abruptly exit. But that celebration will be short-lived. I guarantee it. I give them a month before ISIS will be back to sawing their heads off.

    Let them saw each other’s heads off to their hearts content. Good riddance to the graveyard of AQ (Al Qaeda). Yes folks, it’s going to be a long war. Get used to it.

  • Garth says:

    209th Corps … so where is 201th , 202th, 203th , 204th Corps or even the 101th ???.

  • Murad Badshah says:

    Recently downloaded and watched two freshly released Taliban videos – Victorious Caravan 12 and Gains in Central Baghlan – both released in August 2018.
    Bill you should watch and discuss these.

  • Murad Badshah says:

    “The attack on Ghazni appears to have been organized by ISI Directorate. Does anyone have any information about where the Taliban and Pakistani proxies redeployed to from Ghazni?”
    I think Ashraf Ghani has the information.

  • James says:

    Paddy, don’t let those tail bunnies kid you. They don’t want US to leave. What are they going to do when there’s nothing left to loot?

  • irebukeu says:

    Oh, They are on offensive operations of course. Perhaps RS can claim that they now have the Taliban in a huge pocket called the “Ghazni cauldron”. They can then milk the reduction operations, draw it out for weeks and blame any Taliban activity on ‘breakout attempts’ by dead-enders. When people claim the Taliban have captured a new city they can say “No, we chased them there and now have them trapped on 4 sides.


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