Taliban overruns district in central Afghanistan

The Taliban overran yet another district, this time in Wardak province in central Afghanistan near the capital of Kabul. The Taliban attacked the Nerkh district center despite the fact that the group has declared a three day unilateral cease fire beginning on May 12.

“The district center of Nerkh in Maidan Wardak province, the police headquarters, the intelligence department and a large army base there were all captured,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid announced on his official twitter account.

“Many enemy soldiers were killed, wounded and many Mujahideen were captured alive. Mujahidin have seized all weapons, ammunition and military vehicles in the district and base,” he continued.

Mujahid also posted video of the Taliban driving in captured U.S.-supplied Afghan police pickup trucks and military Humvees.

An Afghan interior ministry spokesman confirmed that security forces conducted a “tactical retreat” after a battle with the Taliban, Reuters reported.

Wardak and neighboring Logar provinces are the gateway to Kabul from the south and east. The Ring Road, the key logistics roadway for Afghan forces, passes through the provinces.

The security situation in Wardak is dire. The taliban currently control three of the nine districts. Four are contested, and two are government controlled, according to an ongoing assessment by FDD’s Long War Journal. The situation in Logar is just as bad, with four of the province’s seven districts controlled by the Taliban, two contested, and only one government controlled. A potential battle for control of Kabul will likely begin in Wardak and Logar.

The Taliban overran two other districts in the northern province of Baghlan, seized the country’s second largest dam in Kandahar and launched numerous other high profile attacks throughout the country over the past week.

Today’s attack in Wardak takes place days before the Taliban will implement a unilateral three day long ceasefire for the Eid holiday.

“[A]ll Mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate are instructed to halt all offensive operations against the enemy countrywide from the first till the third day of Eid,” the Taliban noted in an official statement that is dated May 9 and was released on Voice of Jihad.

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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