Afghan government unable to administer 64 districts

The Afghan government is unable to administer 64 districts from the district centers, according to a recent survey. The 64 districts, which are located in 19 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces, are either being administered remotely, or the district centers have been moved due to heavy fighting with the Taliban. The data track with an ongoing analysis of the security situation in Afghanistan’s districts by FDD’s Long War Journal.

The fact that a district cannot be administered from its district center is a clear indication that the government cannot control the district.

The information was gathered by TOLONews, which conducted a survey of the district governors. The names of 20 of the 64 districts which cannot be administered from its center were identified.

According to the survey, Faryab province takes the lead, with 9 of its 15 districts out of government control. Unfortunately the report did not name the 9 districts. However, this closely tracks with LWJ‘s analysis: 5 districts are Taliban controlled and 6 are contested.

Ghazni is next, with 8 districts outside of government control. Again the report did not name the districts. LWJ’s analysis indicates that 11 of Ghazni’s 19 district are Taliban controlled and the remaining 8 are contested. Note that The New York Times first reported on this phenomena in Ghazni; in Aug. 2017 it noted that 7 districts were being governed from Ghazni City. [Also see LWJ report, Resolute Support obscures status of 7 Ghazni districts as 3 more fall to Taliban.]

Helmand and Farah are next, with 7 districts each that cannot be administered properly. Again, the districts were not named in the report. LWJ’s reporting indicates that 6 of Helmand’s 13 districts are Taliban controlled, and the other 7 are contested; and 4 of Farah’s 11 districts are Taliban controlled, and 6 more are contested.

The TOLONews report named 20 districts that are out of government control: 4 in Kandahar, 4 in Paktika, 4 in Kunduz, 3 in Baghlan, and 3 in Zabul. LWJ updated the status of 13 of these 20 districts from contested to Taliban controlled based on the data.

Again, the survey tracks closely to LWJ‘s analysis of the security situation in Afghanistan’s districts. The new information puts LWJ‘s numbers at 63 districts under Taliban control, 1 district unconfirmed Taliban controlled, and 193 district contested. This means that nearly 16 percent of Afghanistan’s districts are Taliban controlled, and 47 percent are contested.

Resolute Support Mission, NATO”s command in Afghanistan, and the US military ceased reporting on the security situation in Afghanistan’s districts in the fall of 2018. The two organizations claimed that the reporting was not indicative of progress in Afghanistan, and said that so-called peace talks with the Taliban was the real measure of success. However, the military’s own reporting showed a slow but sure deterioration of security in Afghanistan’s districts, which countered its narrative of success.

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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  • Nick Mastrovito says:

    Well, the Taliban and the other terrorists still do not control a substantial amount of the country although it is scary that they are in control of 16% of the districts and are contesting 48% of the districts. Still, the Taliban, ISIS, al Qaeda, et al are only better at propaganda than the Afghan Government at this point. Our mistake was to introduce conventional tactics into the picture. The Afghan Army under Soviet control was the same. We should have been teaching them COIN tactics which they are already knew versus large scale conventional army stuff. But get enough 4-stars stirring the pot and you have a MRE.

  • S R says:

    If OBL had not done 9/11, or if the Taliban had handed over OBL to the US after the US asked for his extradition due to him masterminding 9/11, NATO would not have invaded Afghanistan and the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan would still exist today.

    The Taliban’s pathetic excuse that instead of NATO invading Afghanistan, OBL should have been tried in a neutral 3rd Muslim country, is ridiculous. OBL was very close to Mullah Omar and OBL wouldn’t have lied to the Taliban that he didn’t do 9/11, only to later boast about doing 9/11 via videos and audios.

  • irebukeu says:

    ‘Resolute Support Mission, NATO”s command in Afghanistan, and the US military ceased reporting on the security situation in Afghanistan’s districts in the fall of 2018.’

    Truthiness has taken over.
    The truth has become a political issue. Everyone’s just phoning it in. The only thing real are the faces, the names of the bodies coming home still, from his godforsaken land.

    Its long past time to come home.


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