The Taliban overran a district in the troubled eastern Afghan province of Paktika on July 13. Afghan officials confirmed the Taliban took the district after security forces retreated.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid posted video (above) that was taken with a cell phone of fighters entering what appears to be the Dila Wa Khushamand district center.
Security in Paktika has deteriorated significantly since the US military turned over control to the Afghan military in 2014. Of Paktika’s 20 districts, seven are controlled by the Taliban, nine are heavily contested, and the remaining four are under government control, according to an ongoing assessment of the security situation in Afghanistan’s districts by FDD’s Long War Journal.
Paktika is in the sphere of influence of the Haqqani Network, the influential Taliban subgroup that is closely allied with al Qaeda as well as Pakistan’s military and Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate. The Haqqani Network is an integral part of the Taliban. Its leader, Sirajuddin Haqqani, is one of two deputy emirs of the Taliban, and is also the group’s military leader.