Almost 200 Kandahar checkpoints abandoned to the Taliban: SIGAR

Nearly 200 checkpoints manned by the Afghan National Army’s 205th Corps in Kandahar province were abandoned to the Taliban during December last year, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) stated in its latest quarterly report.

Published late Monday, the SIGAR report states that Resolute Support (RS) mission has long identified the need for an orderly reduction or elimination of the most vulnerable (minimally manned or unsupportable) checkpoints, as well as to consolidate personnel into patrol bases – the new standard fighting structures for the ANA.

According to SIGAR, in November 2019, the Afghan government in coordination with RS estimated that the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) had over 10,000 checkpoints nationwide, with an average of 10–20 personnel at each checkpoint.

During 2020, the Checkpoint Reduction and Base Development Plan was developed but “some checkpoints were not eliminated by plan, but abandoned to the Taliban. Nearly 200 checkpoints manned by the ANA’s 205th Corps in Kandahar Province were abandoned to the Taliban during December 2020,” the report read.

According to Kandahar provincial leaders and security personnel, the ANDSF and the Taliban have clashed regularly in Kandahar province since October, and the recent checkpoint abandonment let government weapons and ammunition fall into Taliban hands.

SIGAR stated that a lack of ANDSF cooperation, 205th Corps personnel shortfalls, adversarial relationships between the 205th Corps soldiers and Kandahar citizens, and the lack of adequate fuel and personnel reserves for 205th Corps checkpoints contributed to the collapse.

The report also stated that all of “the issues are concerns that MOD senior
leaders [are addressing] and continue to improve.”

SIGAR noted that it estimated there are now under 6,000 checkpoints in the country.