What are the Taliban’s next targets in southern Afghanistan?
The capture of the provincial capitals of Nimruz, Jawzjan, Takhar and… by the Taliban is an important step in changing the course of developments in Afghanistan, which in addition to destroying the structure of the US-Taliban agreement, changes the structure of power in Afghanistan.
Southern Afghanistan has been the source of Taliban activities in Afghanistan in recent years due to its desert climate; In the years after the Soviet withdrawal, it became a hotbed of the Taliban and the city of Kandahar was the gathering place and headquarters of the group until 2001; And in general, the southern regions of Afghanistan after the US and NATO invasion have remained as a safe haven for the Taliban.
Following the Taliban extensive advance in recent months, as well as the capture of the capital of Nimruz province, the following seems to be one of the group’s next targets in southern Afghanistan:
1- Chahar Burjak city in the south of Nimruz province:
This city is located near the Iranian border and Kamal Khan Dam is located in this district. The importance of occupying this region is to completely cut off the Afghan government from the border with Iran and also to take control of the water resources of this region. The Ashraf Ghani government and the Taliban see Afghanistan’s water resources as an important tool in negotiations with Iran.
2- Lashkar Gah city, the capital of Helmand province:
The background is the domination of Lashkar Gah, the conquest of Gereshk city and the important base of Shurabak or Camp Bastion. This base used to be the headquarters of NATO and US forces and is one of the largest military bases in Afghanistan and even in the region. Shurabak base has an area of about 30 km and is located at a distance of 240 km from the border of Zabol city in Iran. Therefore, the existence of such a base in Helmand province has a significant role in controlling the southern regions of Afghanistan.
3- Kandahar city, the capital of Kandahar province:
As mentioned above, Kandahar is the headquarters and gathering place of the Taliban, and control of this city is one of the most important points in southern Afghanistan. Kandahar has historically been an important point in Iran-India relations, and several wars have been fought over it over the last four hundred years.
4- Farah city, the capital of Farah province:
Farah is the junction of southern and western Afghanistan. Farah has a thriving agriculture due to the crossing of Khashrood and Farah rivers. In addition to water and agricultural resources, the Abu Nasr Farahi border crossing is located in the province, which along with the Islam Qala crossings in Herat and Milak in Nimruz province have a high share in Afghanistan’s economic exchanges, which could be a good source of income for the Taliban.
As a result, it can be said that in the Taliban target bank, “capturing provincial centers” is a priority. This is because border crossings are activated if the provincial capitals are under the control of the Taliban and government forces are not present at military bases.