Taliban overruns district in Farah after Afghan forces flee

The Taliban waltzed in and took control of the district of Shib Koh in the western province of Farah today after Afghan security forces stationed there fled. Farah remains one of Afghanistan’s most troubled provinces since security there deteriorated quickly when US forces withdrew in 2013.

Civilians living in Shib Koh said that the Taliban took control of the district center after Afghan forces “retreated,” Pajhwok Afghan News reported. An Afghan police spokesman denied the government lost control of the district, but Afghan security officials are known to downplay Taliban successes, as they did when the Taliban overran Farah City last May.

The Taliban, in a statement released on Voice of Jihad, also said it seized control of the “Shib Koh district administration center, police head quarter [sic] and all other installations.”

The district center “was under tight siege of Mujahideen” for a long period of time before it was overrun, the Taliban claimed.

Shib Koh has changed hands between the government and the Taliban several times over the past four years. The Taliban last overran the district center on Oct. 17, 2017. Afghan forces reportedly retook the center shortly after Taliban fighters looted and torched the government buildings.

Reports from Afghanistan describe the district as “insecure” and state the Taliban routinely attack military and police outposts. The Department of Defense has assessed the district as government controlled, but FDD’s Long War Journal has maintained the district was contested up until today.

Shib Koh is one of four among Farah’s 11 districts controlled by the Taliban. Six more are contested, while only one is government controlled, according to an ongoing study by FDD’s Long War Journal..

The Taliban have launched attacks on Afghan security forces on a near-daily basis. Just this weekend, the Taliban killed 12 policemen and wounded eight more after overrunning an outpost in the province. The district of Pashtun Kot has been blockaded by the Taliban for months, and Afghan civilians there are beginning to starve.

Farah is by no means an outlier when it comes to poor security. Many other provinces, including Helmand, Ghazni, and Kunduz, have the vast majority of their districts contested or controlled by 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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  • S R says:

    RS/NATO, the Afghan government and the ANDSF should adopt this strategy: Instead of the ANDSF always being on the defense, the Afghan police should be given the responsibility to defend, while the ANA and the ASF should go on a nation-wide, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, offensive against the Taliban. This strategy covers both the offensive and defensive aspects.

    The Taliban are always on the offense while the ANDSF are always on the defense. Right now the ANDSF are sitting like ducks waiting to be attacked, killed and looted by the Taliban. The ANA and ASF need to take the fight to the Taliban. The ANA and ASF are a huge disappointment.

  • S R says:

    Since 1 Jan 2015, the Taliban have on average killed 30-50 ANDSF personnel every day. That would be 43,800 – 73,000 ANDSF personnel the Taliban will have killed from 1 Jan 2015 – 31 Dec 2018. Also, if you take into consideration the number of ANDSF personnel wounded in battle and the number of ANDSF personnel who have surrendered to the Taliban, the ANDSF has shrunk by a huge size since 1 Jan 2015. The size of the ANDSF was 352,000 on 1 Jan 2015.

  • Nick Mastrovito says:

    We should adopt some of the practices of old times, when a single Soldier showed up in Taliban country…with the severed head of a Talibani….

    The Taliban will never come to the table as long as they now we are too politically correct to massacre en masse.

  • spark says:

    perfect! now we know where they are! DRONE THE HELL OUT OF THEM!

  • Stephen A. Carlton says:

    Thanks for the information . I was last in Afghanistan in 2017.

  • James says:

    Shib Koh is one of the 4 districts within the province that border Iran. There can be no doubt that this involves the Taliban’s need to control at least one of the major opium/heroine trade routes out of the country. The question is, how is the mullah regime (based in Tehran) involved it it?

  • Sid Finster says:

    That is a convenient assumption, there.


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