Taliban assaults Farah City

The Taliban launched an attack on Farah City, the provincial capital of Farah province late last night and fighting is ongoing inside the city. Farah City is the third capital that has come under attack by the Taliban in the past week. The fighting takes place as the US is considering inking a withdrawal deal with the Taliban to extricate itself from Afghanistan.

The assault on Farah City was launched from three sides, according to Afghan officials and the Taliban. Afghan officials claim the Taliban has been “pushed back” and fighting is ongoing on the city’s outskirts, TOLONews reports.

The Taliban tells a different story. It claims fighting is continuing inside the city, it overran a recruitment center, and “is currently under siege in Farah district administration center.” Khaama Press confirmed the Taliban was inside “the Recruitment Compound of the Afghan Army.” A Taliban spokesman released a short video of its fighters walking the streets of Farah City (see video above).

The Taliban also claims it overran the Ana Dara district center in Farah province. The district has previously been considered contested by FDD’s Long War Journal. The Taliban claim cannot be independently confirmed, however the group has been accurate about such reports in the past.

The Taliban took partial control of Farah City during an attack in May 2018. Afghan officials and Resolute Support denied the Taliban entered the city, but videos showing Taliban fighters inside the city as well as statements from residents proved this was false.

Farah City is the third provincial capital to come under direct Taliban threat in the past week. The Taliban assaulted Kunduz City and Pul-i-Khurmi in Bahglan at the end of last week. Afghan officials claim that the Taliban has been driven from Kunduz City, however heavy fighting is reported in the surrounding districts.

In Baghlan, the Taliban still maintain a foothold on the city outskirts. Fighting there has entered its sixth day. The Taliban has also shut down the roads leading into the provincial capital, residents told TOLONews. The Taliban claims it has attacked Afghan forces in the surrounding districts.

The Taliban has stepped up its operations throughout the country as the Trump administration considered signing a deal with the Taliban that focuses on the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan. Yesterday, the Taliban killed 12 people, including an American and a Romanian soldier, in a suicide attack outside of an NDS headquarters in Kabul. Another Taliban suicide bomber killed an unspecified number of Afghan security personnel in an attack on a military convoy in Logar province.

The Taliban isn’t conducting military operations merely to increase its leverage in negotiations with the US, as is commonly claimed. Negotiations with the US have ended, and the Taliban had all the leverage it needed as US officials, including President Trump telegraphed that they have tired of the fight and would withdraw troops.

The Taliban’s military plan matches its political objective to reimpose the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.┬áThe Taliban has been clear in its communications that it will not negotiate with the Afghan government, which it has labeled an “impotent” “stooge” and “puppet” of the US. The uptick in attacks are designed to soften an already weak Afghan military and government in anticipation of a US withdrawal. Additionally, the Taliban’s offensives are designed to send the message to the Afghan people that it will be around long after US forces leave.

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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3 Comments

  • pre-Boomer Marine brat says:

    “Negotiations with the US have ended”

    Precisely put and very true. It is as if Trump hasn’t any factual historical knowledge about the Taliban and the ideological mindset which birthed them. The Taliban understand that, and have been playing him like a trout.

    Or perhaps Trump is obsessive over “cutting deals”. If the Taliban are counting upon that, then they are jamming a middle finger up Trump’s nose — sounding a chant of triumph for the benefit of the Afghan citizenry.

  • Allan Langland says:

    Here is a comment that I posted a week ago on another website:

    I think the Taliban military strategy is fairly obvious – stage attacks on the capital cities of the northern provinces of Kunduz and now Baghlan, to possibly be followed with similar attacks in the West on the capital cities of Badghis or Farah Provinces, all with the aim of drawing in the ANA-SOF and ANP-PRC, the Afghan Special Operations Forces (SOF) units that have proven to be the only Afghan Army and Police units that are combat effective and able to stand up to, and win, fights against Taliban forces. Once the ANA-SOF and ANP-PRC are fully committed to these fights, the Taliban will probably attempt to overrun and hold a key city in the South on the Ring Road such as Ghazni, the capital of Ghazni Province, or Qalat, the capital of the adjacent province of Zabul. I have lost awareness of the current tactical picture because I left Afghanistan five years ago, but I assume that If the ANA-SOF and ANP-PRC are fully engaged in fighting in other parts of the country, it will be difficult to find combat-effective forces to eject the Taliban from control of Ghazni or Qalat. At that point the U.S. may have to consider if it wants to get back into the ground combat role (from which we officially withdrew at the end of 2014) by offering up U.S. SOF units to lead an assault on a Taliban occupation of key cities.

  • Zhang Fei says:

    Here’s a question. The Taliban casualty numbers published in Wikipedia (60,000 KIA) don’t seem plausible. The suggestion in the article is that Afghan security forces have suffered more casualties than the Taliban, which seems off-the-wall, given the fire superiority provided by Uncle Sam. Do you have an estimate that’s not patently absurd like Wikipedia’s?

    //en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taliban_insurgency

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