Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, October 28th, 2021

Baghlan as the Life Line of Afghanistan

The fight has intensified in Baghlan between Afghan security forces and Taliban in Baghlan. Taliban have been desperately fighting to control Baghlan e Markazi strategic district during the last days. On the other hand, Afghan government has responded precisely the Taliban attack; Ministry of Defense has deployed Special Forces to the area and has launched air and land operations against the Taliban. Commandos of the Ministry of Interior Affairs and the NDS Special Units are fighting side by side the terrorist group of Taliban in Baghlan. They have imposed huge casualties to the Taliban by killing and capturing dozens of them.
Why Baghlan Matters for Taliban
The land routes have historically been of strategic importance in the history. Baghlan province is located in a geostrategic land route position in Afghanistan. It links Kabul with the Northern and North Eastern provinces of the country. It Iinks Kabul with Hairatan border that Afghanistan imports and exports a major part of its goods and fuels thorough it. Baghlan also is located on North Eastern highway that connects the city with Kunduz, Takhar, and Badakhshan and Balkh provinces.
If Taliban control Baghlan e Markazi District, they can control Kunduz province. As a result, they can access to the second most important border of the North of Afghanistan. Taliban have strategically pursued to extend their influence and power from Kunduz to Baghlan and Takhar and then to extend their influence to Badakhshan, Balkh and after these two provinces they will focus to capture Samangan, Jawzjan, Sari pul and Faryab provinces. Taliban not only want to control Baghlan and Kunduz as the areas that enable them to stretch their power to the North and North Eastern Afghanistan but they want to the central Asian countries and caucus as a commitment they have made to the other terrorist groups who have been fighting against Afghan, The Us and NATO forces during nearly last two decades in Afghanistan.
As Istanbul conference is on the way, if Taliban can control Baghlan or any other major city, they will have an upper hand in the peace talks to gain more leverages. The heavy attacks of Taliban against the US and Taliban Agreement in Ghazni, Helmand and Baghlan show that Taliban have ordered by certain intelligence elements and those countries that support state terrorism to increase violence and attacks on Afghan security forces to gain new areas and attack people to increase pressure on government to compromise with the Terrorist group of Taliban.
What strategies Taliban have employed to achieve their Land Routes Goals?
Taliban as a terrorist group which was not capable to fight against the international community and Afghan forces alone, have used different war strategies. Combined war strategy has been of the main strategies they have used so far.
Based on this strategy they have tried to unify with different terrorist groups including their strategic partner namely al-Qaeda. Although such alliances are very meager and last for a short period, the alliance of Taliban and al-Qaeda has lasted for more than two decades. Taliban has acted as an umbrella for insurgent and terrorist groups in Afghanistan. Haqqani Network, Lashkar Taiba, Jaish Mohammad, Sepahe Sahaba, Harakat e Islami Turkmenistan Sharqi and Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan have been the terrorist groups that have operated under the Umbrella of Taliban in Afghanistan. Analysts of terrorism believe that if Taliban put their guns on the ground and join the peace process, the alliance will break up and they will become their foe enemies.
One of the other major war strategies of Taliban has been ethnic oriented war strategy.
It is based group, religious, tribal and ethnic group’s common identity. Based on this, the insurgent and terrorist groups usually receive their legitimacy through support of the groups they belong to. The Taliban from creation to now have constantly tried to gain the support of Pashtuns. They succeeded in applying this strategy from 1994 t0 2001. However, they have not been able to gain the overall supports of Pashtuns after 2001.
The third main war strategy that Taliban have used is the divide and rule strategy. Contrary to the Ethnic oriented strategy, they have used religion as one of the major strategies to divide the Afghans. They also have used ethnicity as a tool to divide different Afghan ethnic groups by fueling ethnic divisions among them.
Baghlan is a geostrategic province that has a significant war, economic and political importance for Afghan government and the terrorist group of Taliban and its terrorist allies.Taliban aim to extend their influence and power in the North, North Eastern Afghanistan and reach out to the Central Asian Countries and even China. If Taliban controls Baghlan they will disrupt transfer of goods and commodities from Kabul to North and North Eastern cities but also will cut the supplement of guns and ammunitions too.