Taliban Releases Map of Territory It Controls in Afghanistan

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A ‘report’, which determines various regions of Afghanistan, controlled by the Taliban, has been issued by the Islamic fundamentalist movement.

Click to see the full-size map (Photo: FDD’s Long War Journal)

The Taliban Islamic fundamentalist movement has published a ‘report’, which determines various regions of Afghanistan, controlled by the group, as well as contested territories and areas that are under the influence of the Afghan government.

The report, entitled ‘Percent of Country under the control of Mujahideen’, was published on the Voice of Jihad website, which is considered as the group’s official web-resource, on March 26. The publication was allegedly made by “the Commission for Cultural Affairs of the Islamic Emirate after a long rigorous research.”

Though, the report may be seen as propaganda, according to data compiled by FDD’s Long War Journal, it is enough appropriate to the reality.

Only 349 Afghan districts of the 400 known are covered by the report. FDD’s Long War Journal was not able to match 38 districts, listed by the Taliban, with known districts throughout the country, and the movement did not provide the status of some 13 districts. Therefore, it was impossible to determine the status of 51 districts.

FDD’s Long War Journal mapped the Taliban’s report (see the map above), as well as color-coded and categorized the districts as follows:

Source: FDD’s Long War Journal

The Taliban claims that 34 districts, including the district centers, are under its full control, while other 167 districts are partially (between 40 to 99 percent of the territory) controlled by the group. The movement also has a significant presence (10 to 39 percent) in other 52 districts and a minimal presence in six more districts (1 to 9 percent). According to the Taliban, the group is not presented in 89 districts, however, conducts “guerrilla activities” in some of those provinces.

The Taliban’s report indicates that the movement controls areas in 16 of 34 Afghan provinces, in total, 211 districts are controlled or contested. The percentages range from 10 in Faryab and Maimana to 97 in Uruzgan and Tarinkot.

The report may seem as propaganda, however, it largely matches reports of media, operating on the territory of Afghanistan. In addition, in early February, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) issued a report, according to which the Taliban controls, contests, or influences 171 districts.

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  • DJ Double D

    In other words, the US intervention achieved minimal results.

    • Thegr8rambino

      no the whole purpose of it was the poppy fields, to guard them i think

    • Shawn

      well they have built up the Afghan army, but I very much doubt that they could hold all the territory under their position without any US troops in the country or without US air support. The US is currently in the process of donating jets to Afghanistan and training their air force. In recent years, the Afghan security forces have been able to fend off Taliban attacks on their own and regain or liberate territory on their own as well, but as far as being able to hold all of the territory that they currently possess without US help, they’re a long way off.

      I personally think that the US should launch a coordinated counter terrorism offensive using asymmetrical/guerrilla warfare tactics, for example, attacking at night, sniping Taliban leadership, ambushing them with airstrikes/laser guided artillery, basically ambushing the Taliban by surprise. The Afghan security forces need to be sent on the offensive to gain experience.

  • El Diablo

    If USA withdraw i think Iran will intervene. We will watch if they have better strategy :D

    • Thegr8rambino

      why would iran intervene?

      • Shawn

        Iran has a long, ancient history with Afghanistan and in the late 90’s I believe Iran almost decided to invade Afghanistan. They amassed their troops on the border but in the end the Taliban apologised for the killing of Iran’s ambassadors by a supposedly “rogue” group. The fear of a long, protracted war with insurgents supported by the US also dissuaded Iran, a country that at the time was still recovering from the 8 year war with Iraq in the 80’s in which Saddam had been supported by USA/USSR/France/Britain/Arab states and Iran was basically on it’s own with a recently purged military, unable to buy new weapons or spare parts for their existing western weapons

        • Thegr8rambino

          But why would they intervene now? If the Taliban already apologized

      • El Diablo

        For the same old reason of ever: shia vs sunni. If talibans win the war, no one can stop Iran to do an invasion. Myabe also to annex the country, in a pan-iranian ideology.

    • outer_rl

      More likely China than Iran. But most likely of all, no intervention at all.

  • Igor Ochocinszk

    FDD warhawk american NGO is much more propagandist than the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, just highlighting that.

  • Shawn

    For a more accurate map, refer to the wikipedia page on the Taliban insurgency. Looking at the colours alone it appears that the Taliban control a lot of territory, but in reality, for the most part, they are restricted to large swathes of the countryside. The majority of the population is firmly under the grip of the Afghan government.

    The US should launch a massive surprise counter terrorism offensive to catch the Taliban by surprise and inflict as much damage and casualties on them as possible. I’m not referring to the US using conventional means, I’m referring to a combination of precision drone strikes, using elite counter terrorism units, attacking at night, etc Basically ambushing the Taliban when they least expect it. Haven’t the US spent billions or maybe trillions of dollars training Afghanistan own national army ? Why not put them to good use ?

    • grumpy_carpenter

      Haven’t the US spent billions or maybe trillions of dollars training Afghanistan own national army ? Why not put them to good use ?

      Because like the Iraqi’s and Vietnamese before them the Afghan army are paid enough to dress and train as an army but not enough to fight, die and leave their families fatherless for Uncle Sam.

  • outer_rl

    It’s hard to see how this ends other than with the US giving up and the Taliban reconquering the whole country.