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.
Are you a dedicated reader of FDD's Long War Journal? Has our research benefitted you or your team over the years? Support our independent reporting and analysis today by considering a one-time or monthly donation. Thanks for reading! You can make a tax-deductible donation here.