Taliban overruns district center in northeastern Afghanistan

The Taliban overran the district of Kohistan in the remote northeastern province of Badakhshan last evening after laying siege to it for several days. Kohistan is the second district in the north to fall under Taliban control in the past week.

Taliban fighters “surrounded the district for the past two days” before overrunning it, TOLONews reported. The district fell due to “the lack of reinforcement troops needed” to defend it. The Taliban claimed it killed 29 Afghan security personnel during the fighting.

Resolute Support, NATO’s command in Afghanistan, assessed Kohistan as “government influenced,” according to a report by the Special Investigator General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.

Badakhshan is a province which, prior to the US surge that ended in 2014, had previously seen a minimal Taliban presence. After Resolute Support transferred security to Afghan forces in the summer of 2014, Taliban influence in Badakhshan has exploded.

Today, the Taliban controls three of Badakhshan’s 29 districts (Kohistan, Warduj, and Yamagan) and contests 11 more, according to data compiled by FDD’s Long War Journal. Warduj and Yamagan have been under the control of the Taliban for the past 4 years, according to TOLONews. The Taliban are reported to be pressing hard in the districts of Raghistan, Shuhada, and Tashkan, which are currently contested.

Resolute Support has assessed the remaining districts as government influenced. LWJ maintains that the “influenced” assessment is somewhat meaningless and equates to contested, as the government is not in full control of a district. [See Mapping Taliban Control in Afghanistan for the full explanation.]

Kohistan is the second district to fall under the Taliban’s control in only the past week. On April 28, the Taliban overran Qala-i-Zal district in Kunduz province.

Afghan security forces, backed by US and NATO forces numbering around 21,500 troops, has struggled to contain the Taliban insurgency. The Taliban currently controls 41 of Afghanistan’s 407 districts and contests 201 more, according to data compiled by LWJ.

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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