After Heavy Fighting, Taliban Overruns Key Afghan District

Kanashin District Is Key for Opium Industry

by Jason Ditz, July 31, 2016

Taliban gains in Afghanistan continue to mount, with militants pouring into the Kanashin District of Helmand Province, engaging in heavy fighting with the Afghan security forces, but quickly overrunning them, and ending up in control of the district.

This just adds to the territorial gains the Taliban have been making, particularly in Helmand, with the provincial government now reporting that the Taliban is in control of around 60% of the entire province. At least 17 police were killed in this latest offensive.

Kanashin District is particularly valuable because it is along the Pakistani border, as well as neighboring several key agricultural districts which are heavily dependent on opium farming. This gives the Taliban a key route through which to control opium smuggling, a major source of funds.

The Taliban has long been fighting over Helmand, with the most recent push beginning last spring, with continued offensives aimed at capturing as much territory as possible. With the Afghan military struggling with desertion and “ghost soldiers” thinning their ranks, have struggled to shore up the defense of such remote areas, and have been losing ground at a growing rate.

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