5 years, 12 months ago
The Waygal district in Nuristan has been seized by Taliban forces.
The Taliban seized control of a district in eastern Nuristan Province on Tuesday, chasing the governor and the police from the district capital, according to both Afghan officials and a spokesman for the Taliban.
It was the second Taliban success in recent days in the general area of the strategic Pech Valley, which American troops are in the process of withdrawing from and turning over to Afghan authorities.
“The white flag of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is flying over the Want district center, while some policemen of the puppet administration flee toward the provincial capital after slight resistance,” said the Taliban spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, in a statement to news organizations circulated by e-mail. He was referring to the district more commonly known as Waygal.
The Nuristan Province police commander, Gen. Shams-ul-Rahman Zahid, confirmed that the police had fled their barracks and district government buildings in town of Waygal, the capital of Waygal district, leaving the Taliban in what he said was temporary control of the district. The district governor, Mulavi Zia-ul-Rahman, was also said to have fled.
“Police forces have tactically withdrawn from the district center early this morning about 5 a.m. following harsh fighting and due to lack of ammunition, and to avoid civilian casualties,” General Zahid said in a telephone interview.
“We are planning a counterattack to retake the district,” he said. “We will reinforce and retake the district soon from the insurgents.”
On Saturday, 40 police recruits had been returning to their homes, also in Waygal district, when they were kidnapped by Taliban insurgents as they crossed through Capa Dara district in the Pech Valley area, which is in Kunar Province close to the Nuristan border.
Analysis & Commentary
In Taliban Tactics: Massing of Troops, I detailed no less than six instances of Taliban forces massing from 100 to 400 troops for engagements (approximately half-Battalion), including at the fated Battle of Wanat. The Battle of Kamdesh is a seventh instance of massing of forces, in this case up to 300 troops.
The Germans have experienced yet another example. “Germany says three of its soldiers were killed and five severely wounded in heavy fighting with Taliban insurgents today in northern Afghanistan.
The German military said the detachment was patrolling near Chahar Dara, southwest of the city of Konduz, when it was attacked by militants.
District government chief Abdul Wahid Omar Khil estimated there were about 200 Taliban fighters involved in the attack.”
This report from Waygal is no less than the ninth report of massing of forces of up to 300 fighters. It is noteworthy that the insurgents were facing only Afghan National Security Forces and not U.S. troops, and it’s equally noteworthy that U.S. forces at Kamdesh and Wanat were never overrun. But the tactic remains the same. Taliban fighters like to fight asymmetrically by overpowering their foe. They want a ten to one troop ratio or they won’t face down our forces in classical battle – or it would seem in this case, neither will they face down the ANP.
It’s also noteworthy that this is generally in the region of the Pech Valley, something that only The New York Times article mentions. We are paying a high price for our abandonment of the Pech Valley, as the insurgents have safe haven, human terrain for recruitment, an area for R&R, and safe passage from one region to another.
Taliban Massing of Forces category