Thursday, April 14, 2016

Afghanistan situation map as of 12th April 2016.

(ISW) Here is the current situation as reported by the Institute for the study of War regards Afghanistan:

1. Militants attacked heavily fortified areas in Kabul City, launching four explosive attacks against security and diplomatic targets from March 25 to 29. ISIS Wilayat Khorasan militants also indicated intent to attack Kabul City by claiming two unconfirmed attacks in southern Kabul on April 6. These attacks will likely increase following the announcement of the Taliban militants’ summer offensive “Operation Omari” on April 12.

2. Clearing operations continued to displace ISIS Wilayat Khorasan militants from Nangarhar Province into other eastern provinces. ISIS’s militants reportedly moved to Sar Kani District, Kunar Province following ANSF clearing operations in Nangarhar Province in late March. ISIS militants also conducted their first attack in Ghazni Province north of Ghazni City on March 11 and reportedly continued recruiting in Ghazni and Zabul Provinces, including Gelan, Jaghuri, and Khak-e Afghan Districts in early April. Some ISIS militants remain in southern Nangarhar despite a significant increase in U.S. airstrikes and ANSF clearing operations, with some allegedly pledging allegiance to Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour on April 11.

3. ANSF retook Reg-e Khan Neshin District Center in Helmand Province with support from US airstrikes on March 28 after Taliban militants briefly captured it on March 15, demonstrating the effectiveness of ANSF operations combined with U.S. airstrikes. Taliban militants control seven districts in Helmand Province, however, and are contesting areas surrounding the provincial capital Lashkar Gah. ISW has updated this version of its Afghanistan map to reflect Taliban militants’ longstanding control of Baghran District Center in Helmand, which is now among ISW’s researched districts. The map now also reflects Taliban militants’ effective control of Kajaki District Center, as the ANSF is reportedly unable to maneuver beyond a fixed position at the nearby Kajaki dam.
4. Rival Taliban militant factions participated in large-scale clashes in Shindand District, Herat Province. Shindand District is a launching pad for militant operations in western Afghanistan. The district is currently a stronghold for leading dissident Taliban commander Mullah Rasul Akhund’s faction.

5. Rival Northern Warlords First Vice President General Abdul Rashid Dostum and Balkh Provincial Governor Mohammad Atta Noor conducted competing operations against Taliban militants in Faryab, Jowzjan and Balkh Provinces in late February and early March. Competition between the rival warlords intensified when Dostum and Atta’s supporters staged protests and counter-protests in Mazar-e Sharif and Maimanah Cities on March 22 and 23. Competition between these northern warlords reflects competition between President Ghani, linked with Ghani, and CEO Abdullah Abdullah, whom Atta backs, and challenges the legitimacy of the National Unity Government by strengthening militias conducting operations outside of government control.

6. Taliban militants recaptured Dand-e Ghori area, Pul-e Khumri District, Baghlan Province, returning to the area on March 24 after the ANSF conducted multiple clearing operations. Dand-e Ghori lies on the main road connecting northern Baghlan and Balkh provincial capitals Pul-e Khumri and Mazar-e Sharif and was originally captured by Taliban militants in last year’s spring offensive. Control of this area enables militants to attack Pul-e Khumri City and disrupt travel to Mazar-e Sharif. Taliban militants may have seized the area as a means of demonstrating Pashtun strength in response to protests and militia operations by Uzbek Dostum and Tajik Atta. The capture of Dand-e Ghori immediately followed protests in Mazar-e Sharif and Maimanah on March 22 and 23. Militants also attacked Dowlatabad City in late March in Faryab after Dostum’s operations in the province.