Sunday, February 21, 2016

Musa Qala District Abandoned by ANDSF

The Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) have withdrawn its security forces from the district of Musa Qala in Helmand province (on Saturday) after a protracted struggle with the Taliban over the past year. The district is now under Taliban control. The ANDSF calls it a "redeployment of forces". Another government spokesman said that the troops were not accomplishing anything in the district and that the move will put the troops into a different and more important district that is heavily contested by the Taliban.  The few troops that were in the district were confined to a couple of bases. The Taliban had already taken control of the district bazaar and government buildings. The fall of Musa Qala district may have a cascading effect on other nearby districts in Helmand province. It could be that the Afghan government is on a path to cede northern Helmand to the insurgents. Some observers think that the Taliban now either control or are contesting 10 of the 14 Helmand province districts. Overall, a grim reflection on how ill-prepared the ANDSF are in combating the Taliban. Read more in "Afghan troops pull out of strategic Helmand district", Reuters, February 20, 2016.

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