Taliban Gains Mount in Afghanistan: Two More Districts Overrun

Burns Police Station in Northern Faryab Province

The weekend once again saw the Taliban racking up territorial gains within Afghanistan, seizing the Taywara District in the Ghor Province, and also taking control of the Kohistan District in the far northern Faryab Province, forcing security forces in both districts to retreat and wait for reinforcements.

Taywara is the bigger fight, according to reports, with around 70 Afghan soldiers killed and 30 others wounded in the fighting. In Faryab, the attack was more of a surprise, with Taliban arriving under the cover of night and burning the police headquarters and other office buildings.

The provinces are both outside of the usual focus of the Taliban, which has mostly been trying to amass gains in a few specific other provinces, but with the Afghan government scrambling to reinforce places like Helmand to prevent outright defeats, they appear to be leaving other areas exposed.

This is likely to be a recurring problem for the Afghan military, as the force is nowhere near as large as it is on paper. Many of the Afghan soldiers officials on the payroll are actually “ghost soldiers,” just names that are on the books so some higher ranking official can pocket their salary without any real soldier to complain that he didn’t get paid.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.