Taliban claims to have captured 2 Afghan districts

The Taliban claims to have overrun two districts, one in Paktika in eastern Afghanistan and another in Samangan in the north, over the past 24 hours. While the Taliban’s claim of control cannot be independently verified, the group has proven to be accurate when reporting on the status of districts.

Zabihullah Mujahid, an official spokesman for the Taliban, said on Twitter that “Khushamand district falls to Mujahidin” and there would be “more details later.”

Afghan officials confirmed that there was heavy fighting in Khushamand, which is also known as Dila Wa Khushamand. A police spokesman claimed that 73 Taliban fighters and four policemen were killed, but both sides routinely inflate casualties. According to Pajhwok Afghan News, “hundreds of militants stormed the district centre from different directions.”

In an official statement on Voice of Jihad, the Taliban also reported that “Mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate cleared Dara-e-Souf district in Samangan province of the enemy last night, leaving a dozen of the enemy military personnel dead and wounded.”

There is no independent confirmation in the Afghan or international press that the Taliban overran the district.
There are two districts in Samangan known as Dara-I-Sufi: Dara-I-Sufi Payin, and Dara-I-Sufi Bala. The Taliban is likely referring to Dara-I-Sufi Payin, which was contested as of May 31, according to an assessment by Resolute Support.

The Taliban remains on the offensive in Afghanistan even as US officials have claimed that the group is desperate and does not have the initiative. The Trump administration is eager to negotiate with the Taliban to end the war and US representatives met with the leaders of the Taliban’s political office in Doha, Qatar on Oct. 12 in an effort to achieve that goal. The Taliban has consistently stated that it will not share power with the Afghan government and has demanded US forces withdraw from the country.

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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