Military experts and sources have reported that delays in deploying reinforcements to districts – most of which are in rural areas – have been a major cause behind the fall of district centers to the Taliban in the last two months.
Sources in some provinces said that the exaggeration by the Taliban about the number of their fighters and about the expansion of their attacks on other districts is another reason behind the evacuation of districts without any resistance.
On Monday sources said that at least a dozen districts fell to the Taliban. In the past 48 hours, the centers of five districts fell to the group. In many cases, the security forces did not receive reinforcements and evacuated after hours of fighting, locals and other sources said. The districts include Sholgara, Dawlat Abad and Kushinda in Balkh province.
“Many areas are falling to the armed opposition because security forces remain under siege and they have no equipment or supplies,” said Raihana Sadat, a member of the provincial council in Balkh.
On Sunday, at least 600 security force members in Dasht-e-Archi district in Kunduz retreated to Khawaja Bahauddin District in Takhar, according to sources. Later during the same day, Qala-e-Zal district in Kunduz was also evacuated by security forces.
“The Imam Sahib district will also fall if the situation continues,” said Khaluddin Hakimi, a member of the Kunduz provincial council.
In Faryab, meanwhile, in addition to the fall of six districts to the Taliban, fighting has inched closer to the capital, Maimana. MPs from the province said the lack of reinforcements has led to the crisis in the province.
However, the Defense Ministry on Monday said that reinforcements have been sent to Maimana.
“It is questionable,” said Sayed Anwar Rasul Oghli, head of a youth movement in Kabul. “People know that the security forces stationed in Qaisar, Dawlat Abad, Shirin Tagab and Khwaja Sabz Posh (districts) retreated without any resistance.”
“We had at least 300 people. Many of them fought and said they were faced with an offensive attack. They did not know the number (of the Taliban), but it was exaggerated, and they were told that at least 5,000 to 6,000 Taliban were attacking them,” said Fawzia Raufi, an MP from Faryab.
The Defense Ministry also said that all options are on the table to improve the security situation.
“You witnessed the clearance of many areas in Takhar last night,” Defense Ministry spokesman Rohullah Ahmdzai said.
“I am ready. It is not only Qaisar (district)… I am ready to go to Faryab, to Jawzjan, or any other place that has fallen, even areas that are too challenging. I am ready to go and respond to the Talibs,” said Nizamuddin Qaisari, former police chief for Qaisar district in Faryab.
Figures collected by TOLOnews show that at least 50 districts have fallen to the Taliban or have been evacuated in the last two months. Many of these districts are still contested and have seen ongoing fighting over the last few weeks.