Taliban Has Afghan Provincial Capital Surrounded

Reinforcements Offer Only Brief Respite as Leaders Flee

by Jason Ditz, September 09, 2016

Afghan reinforcements poured into the city of Tarin Kot, the capital of the Uruzgan Province, with an eye toward expelling the Taliban fighters who attacked the city earlier this week. Though the effort briefly recovered some ground, the Taliban quickly recovered, and have left a shrinking portion of the city surrounded, but nominally under government control.

The local government leaders don’t seem to be expecting a quick turnaround, either, with reports that most of them have evacuated to an airport on the outskirts of town. The same airport was also where security forces evacuated the prisoners from the local prison, which the Taliban sought to capture first.

The Taliban denied government reports they’d sustained major casualties in the fighting, but Afghan security forces confirmed their own position is increasingly dire, with forces increasingly overpowered and running short on supplies.

The US launched three airstrikes against the area around the city, the first direct US involvement in the defense of Tarin Kot since this latest siege began. The Uruzgan Province is a major opium producing area, and the Taliban has coveted control of such regions for the money that controlling the opium trade can afford them.

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