Taliban score another surprise victory in Afghanistan

Taliban score another surprise victory in Afghanistan
More than 14 years after the fall of the Taliban government, the group's insurgency has made it a threat to the whole of Afghanistan.
2 min read
20 August, 2016
The Taliban's success coincides with the rise of other extremist threats in the region [AFP]
The resurgent Afghan Taliban scored another shock military victory on Saturday, after taking control of a district in the north-east of the country.

Taliban fighters launched multiple attacks on Khan Abad from different directions, overwhelming the defenders and taking the district, Afghan police told reporters on Saturday.

The insurgents' surprise attack forced Afghan government forces to make another humiating retreat, after calls for reinforcements were ignored.

"After several hours of fighting the militants overran the district," the district's governor Hayatullah Amiri told AFP

The provincial spokesperson said that government forces are fighting to retake the province. Others believe that the fragmented politicians and commanders have learned little about the shortfalls in security, which has helped their determined opponents to make advances in the country.

Last September, the Taliban scored its biggest military success since the downfall of its government in 2001. 

Taliban forces overran the northern city of Kunduz, until a few weeks later government forces backed by massive US air raids forced the insurgents to withdraw.

Since then, the group has won a number of smaller victories in the country and the government in battling the Taliban in 15 of Afghanistan's 34 provinces.

This is despite the insurgents - and Islamic State group in Afghanistan and Pakistan - having much of its leadership decimated by US air strikes.

The capture of Khan Abad adds further pressure on government forces holding the provincial capital Kunduz, which lies just 30 km away.

Residents have reportedly fled the town fearing another massive offensive and wave of air raids from government and US forces. 

The US has assured no other major city will fall again to the Taliban, but the armed group now looks to threaten Kunduz's eastern flanks. 

Meanwhile, in the southern Helmand Province, the group is also advancing on the provincial capital Lashkar Gah, having already effectively besieged the city. 

Bomb attacks and massacres in Kabul and other places by the Taliban and now South Asia's Islamic State group factions have made the ongoing battle between government forces and insurgents a pain felt by people everywhere.