Just a day after the collapse of Kunduz province’s Chahar Dara district, Taliban militants took control of Dasht-e-Archi district on Monday, fueling fears that insurgents will continue to make territorial gains despite strong counteroffensive efforts by the Afghan forces in recent weeks.
Mismanagement, lack of harmony between local officials and ineffective utilization of the security forces have been identified as the primary reasons for the collapse of two Kunduz districts in less than two days.
The Ministry of Interior (MoI) has assured the Afghan government will recapture the districts soon. “The Afghan national security forces will struggle to resolve the problems of both districts,” ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said. “We will use all available resources to address the issues, whether it is a lack of harmony, mismanagement or other issues,” he added.
Meanwhile, security analysts have criticized the strategy of ministry officials, suggesting that taking a reactive stance is a mistake. “The war is not assessed professionally, because when the opponents capture an area, they start their operations shortly after, but the law stresses that we launch offensives,” military expert Atiqullah Amarkhail said.
Geographically, Kunduz sits at a strategic juncture that connects central and northern Afghanistan. But whether or not the districts were high-value strategic targets of the Taliban is unclear. What is clear is that poor local governance and ineffective use of the Afghan security forces are likely what allowed the districts to fall so easily.
“An extensive investigation must be launched whenever a district collapses and the main causes and reasons must be found out – whether it was because of the heavy forces of the enemy, lack of coordination with local people, a crisis in command, the inactivity of police deployed in the area or an insider job,” former deputy minister of interior Mirza Mohammad Yarmand said.
Looking forward, there are growing concerns that the Khawja Ghar district of Takhar province could be ned tot fall if adequate counter-measures are not taken by the Afghan government. The Khawja Ghar district borders the Dasht-e-Archi district of Kunduz.