The Taliban took control of a military base in the embattled southern province of Uruzgan, where the group has recently laid siege to the capital of Tarin Kot.
The jihadist group claimed it took control of the “strategic military base in Khushdeer” and two others in Chora district after Afghan troops were surrounded and then subsequently “fled towards the district center.”
In a statement released on its website, Voice of Jihad, the Taliban showed a picture of the base with the Taliban’s flag flying over it.
On Twitter, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid then released a video of an interview of fighters from the base (video is below). Like the recent ambush in Helmand’s capital, the Taliban fighters clearly are not concerned about either an Afghan Army counterattack or airstrikes. The interview takes place in broad daylight, hours after the base was overrun (the Taliban claimed the Afghan troops fled during the nighttime).
بخش کوتاهی از ویدیو فتح قرارگاه بنام کیپتو در منطقه درویشان مربوط ترینکوت مرکز ارزگان pic.twitter.com/9rDP9xRYQC
— ذبیح الله مجاهـــــد (@Zabihulla13) October 26, 2016
Uruzgan has been hotly contested for more than a year. Of the province’s six districts, one, Char Chino, is under Taliban control, and the remaining five are heavily contested. The Taliban seized Char Chino in June 2016 after Afghan forces conducted a tactical retreat.
The Taliban considers Uruzgan to be a strategic province, and has previously said that it controls all areas of the province except for the district centers.
In a Voice of Jihad interview in April 2016 with Mullah Aminullah Yousuf, the Taliban’s shadow governor for Uruzgan, he described the province as “the linking point for many provinces” and a traditional “strong fortress of mujahideen.” [See LWJ report, Taliban seizes a district in Uruzgan.]