On June 17, 2020, the Taliban conducted simultaneous raids on a checkpoint and ANA installation in Northern Afghanistan, putting attempts for a successful peace agreement on hold once more. The Afghan government's Ministry of Defense indicates that at least 18 members of its security forces were killed, while an undisclosed number were injured. In all, the government claims that nearly 220 combat engagements with the Taliban have resulted in 422 Afghan troops being killed or wounded in action.
The first strike occurred in Jowzjan province, a relatively flat region of Afghanistan known for its petroleum and natural gas production. In the predawn hours of the day, Taliban fighters overwhelmed approximately 12 members of Afghanistan's security forces as they manned a checkpoint on the outskirts of the provincial capital (شبرغان). Open source intelligence (OSINT) indicates that all government forces manning the position were killed in action.
At the same time, Taliban troops moved to capture an Afghan National Army (ANA) outpost outside the provincial capital of Kunduz. In this endeavor, however, the Taliban proved less successful. Aminullah Iddin, a member of Kunduz's provincial council, announced that ANA troops guarding the installation were not caught off guard. After a nearly five hour gunfight, the Taliban was forced declare defeat and withdraw from the area. The ANA's success came with a price, however. The Intelligence Ledger successfully confirmed the deaths of six Afghan soldiers who died fighting off the attackers. As of the release of this article, the Taliban has not issued a statement addressing the failed raid.
The raids occurred less than two days after the government of Afghanistan and the Taliban agreed to hold inter-Afghan talks in Qatar. While there has been a substantive reduction in violence in the war-torn country, highly public and inflammatory actions by both the government and the Taliban continue to threaten the success of negotiations.
The Department of Defense and Department of State have yet to comment on the incidents. The United States has previously stated its intention to gradually withdraw forces from the Central Asian nation as long as the Taliban adhere to its February agreement with Washington.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the United States Army, Department of Defense, or the United States Government.