Milley: Taliban Has Almost Half of Afghan District Centers

Says Afghan forces are trying to regroup in population centers

Facing weeks of persistent Taliban offensives, the Afghan government has lost a worrying amount of ground, with many districts either contested or having fallen outright.

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley reported that the Taliban controls more than 200 of the 419 district centers in Afghanistan. Last month he said they controlled 81 district centers.

For those keeping track of the situation on the ground, it’s hardly shocking, as the Taliban is taking territory with regularity and has the Afghan military on the defensive at best, and in many cases in full retreat.

Milley did not appear overly worried, however, saying that the Afghan military is regrouping, and shoring up its defenses in large population centers, which are mostly the provincial capitals.

Milley sounded approving of this strategy, which is interesting because before the US was leaning heavily on Afghanistan to not focus on defense, and to rather launch counter-attacks to get themselves on an offensive footing.

Afghan officials have been a bit more nebulous lately about that, promising reinforcements for counter-offensives in a lot of cases but never bothering to send them, simply ceding the territory to the Taliban.

Milley went on to say that the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan is “not a foregone conclusion,” though it does appear that the Taliban has the momentum on the ground.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.