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Sunday, April 18, 2021

The Battle for Baraki Barak Wasn’t Done Until the Family of the Commander in Chief Was Dumped in the South’s Outskirts

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The battle for Baraki Barak was completed in early June, but had not been divulged to the public until now, probably because of the relevance of the battle in a new age.

For a second time the resistance had breached the southern Afghanistan fortifications. A Taliban brigade of approximately a hundred fighters had entered the town in hostile territory, within the Afghan government’s main operational region.

A few months earlier, some 12,000 opponents of the government and their tribal militias had made a hasty retreat from the town when the Taliban launched an assault. But on June 5, a few hundred Taliban entered the town’s market district. They approached the political offices, where one of their top leaders, Abdullah Ghani, was in charge.

Abdullah Ghani’s family had been in Baraki Barak for centuries. Today he is a senior member of the Afghan government, appointed as the central governor of one of the five provinces in the south.

When the first wave of the Taliban entered the main market, the residents of Baraki Barak warned Abdullah Ghani that the Taliban would kill his family. He didn’t come out.

They shouted, “Jihad Akbar!”

The community understood from Abdullah Ghani’s behavior, that he was either a coward or the Taliban had caught him red-handed.

In one of the reasons of the Taliban’s pressure, he was forced to go to Mazar-i-Sharif where the government officials were deciding to take a unilateral decision of letting the Taliban into the second front, where a brief battle fought with the popular support of the people left the Taliban beaten but without a victory.

The Taliban climbed over the Manzari mountain, the highest point in the Afghan north, around noon on June 6. They entered the town after a short siege in which they seized from the political offices some 20 weapons.

There are scores of details that it didn’t take the Taliban long to collect from all parts of Baraki Barak. They took all cars, including the police car parked at the gate of the political offices. And they stole thousands of Afghani rupees, often exchanging it for weapons.

They also seized from Abdullah Ghani’s family all their land. The family of Abdullah Ghani is one of the oldest, and they have had their wealth from Baraki Barak ever since their forefathers arrived as members of the rebel Ghanjan tribe in the 1780s.

Abdullah Ghani was defending Baraki Barak with his brother Hafiz Ghani, and their father was in Mazar-i-Sharif.

Abdullah Ghani and Hafiz Ghani remained in Baraki Barak for a few days before fleeing the city, and in the end they managed to bring all their family, and around 100-200 Taliban, to Mazar-i-Sharif.

Once at Mazar-i-Sharif, the two Abdullah Ghani brothers turned to become bitter rivals. The culture of mutual animosity started almost as soon as the Taliban entered the besieged city.

The famous warlord Safwan, who has been leading the resistance in Baraki Barak for 10 years, was told to surrender by Abdullah Ghani’s forces. It was not a surprise for Safwan because she had barely escaped Taliban’s fire last summer.

In recent months, Taliban has carried out extensive military action in Baraki Barak, and in June, Safwan managed to escape from the city for Mazar-i-Sharif. Since then, during Ramadan, she divided her army into groups, and prepared to fight on.

She left Baraki Barak on the morning of June 6 with 30 vehicles. She went to Uruzgan province and handed over the arms she had left in Baraki Barak to the Taliban.

Some other resistance forces escaped too.

The main people in the city decided to surrender the town, but it was Abdullah Ghani who announced the decision.

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