Afghan Military Cedes Checkpoints to Taliban in Helmand

Provincial Officials Promise Investigation

The Taliban has had a major presence across southern Afghanistan, but seems to be getting semi-formal control over some territory today, amid reports that the Afghan National Army has ceded control of three checkpoints in the Sangin District of Helmand to Taliban control in return for an end to attacks in the area around them.

That’s a de facto ceding of the territory around those checkpoints, of course, and while the Afghan Defense Ministry is refusing to confirm any such arrangement, provincial officials said they believe it is the case, and have sent a delegation to Sangin to investigate.

Such an agreement isn’t sitting well with the provincial officials, obviously, but could be a trial balloon for a more formal “power-sharing” arrangement with the Taliban.

Officials have openly talked about the idea of giving the Taliban total control over a number of the provinces they dominate in return for an end to the civil war, though such talks haven’t advanced very much on that front, with the Taliban saying any deal must come with an end to foreign military presences.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.