ACLED-APW Report Tracking Disorder During Taliban Rule in Afghanistan

Province: Samangan

Location: North 

Samangan province is one of the third-degree provinces located between the northern provinces of Balkh and Baghlan, which shares a border with (Tajikistan and Uzbekistan) and also in the south of the province there is Kotal Changhor, Hindu Kush and agricultural lands of Aibak. In the northern part, it is surrounded by Rigzar Abdan Desert Mir Alam and includes the Amu Darya. The ancient city of Samangan is located in the southeastern district of Khulm in Balkh province and has historically been one of the most important roads in Balkh. In Shahnameh Ferdowsi, it is said that Rustam Zal married Tahmina daughter of Samangan’s King. According to Shahnameh, this city is located on the border of Iran and Turan. Samangan is one of the ancient provinces of ancient Iran. Its Capital is the charming and the green city of Aibak. Its height is more than a thousand meters above the sea level. This region is very fertile, with plenty of grains and fruits. Aibak’s climate is very popular, as there is a saying: water of Aibak, food of Aibak, the nap of Aibak.

Samangan is located alongside the Kabul-Hairatan highway between Baghlan and Balkh in an important region of Afghanistan. The discovery of evidence and historical artifacts is of great significance, which is reflected in archaeology and research by the American historian Dr. Carenton Qara Kamar cave s located adjacent to Aibak. It is said to have been occupied by hunter-gatherers in this region between 4,000 and 6,000 BC, and has been identified as one of the lifeblood regions of Afghanistan. Materials like electric stones, bones of animals, hash of coal have been discovered in the province. artifacts such as flint stones, animal bones, and ashes. The discovery of Kotal’s Red Fire Station and its relics located in the eastern part of Samangan gives new insights into the early Christian era.

Aibak city is the Capital of Samangan province.

Population: 350,000

Area: 16,20-kilometer squares

Ethnicity: Uzbeks, Pashtuns, Turkmen, Hazaras, Aimaqs, Arabs and Tajiks

Languages: Pashto and Dari 

Armed Oppositioin Group(s):

  • In Samangan province, only Taliban groups operate, which have temporary and non-permanent operations, and other groups are not active, however, irresponsible armed individuals affiliated with political parties are active in the area.

  • Irresponsible armed individuals in Samangan are used by powerful local commanders, former jihadi commanders and individuals for personal gain as well as for political and security issues. They are not at war with the government of Afghanistan and are present only for the benefit of these people.Although these individuals have also created concerns among the people, yet the government has not been able to disarm unarmed individuals in Samangan province, arguing that they can have strong political support for themselves.

 Districts Under Control of the Government: Samangan is considered relatively safe in the northern part of the country, however, security concerns exist in some parts of the province. Based on the Taliban’s activities, about 30 percent of Samangan’s territory is under control of the Taliban and 70 percent is under control of the government. Although the Taliban do not have a permanent base in Samangan province, yet there are movements to occupy parts of the security checkpoints in the province.

Districts Under Control of the Taliban:  Samangan province has 6 districts which include (Khurram and Sarbagh, Dara-e-Soof-e-Payeen, Dara-e-Soof-e-Bala, Roi-e-Do-e-Ab, Hazrat Sultan and Feroz Nakhchir). Out of 6 districts of Samangan province, none of these districts are under full control of the Taliban, however, the districts of (Dara-e-Suf Bala, Dara-e-Suf-e-Payen, Roy-e-Do and Hazrat Sultan) have security threats and Taliban are active in some of its areas.

Contested Districts: 

Government’s Appointed Governor for the Province: 

Taliban’s Distinct Governor for the Province: 

Major Security Incident(s):

Although Samangan is among relatively safe provinces, however, in the past few years, various security incidents have taken place in Samangan province, the most important of which are as follows

- The assassination of Ahmad Khan Samangani, a Member of Parliament (in a suicide attack in Aibak, the capital of Samangan Province. Ahmad Khan Samangani, was a Member of Parliament and an influential figure of Samangan. Besides, some of the Local Officials and Security Forces got killed, 1391)

- Assassination of Police Headquarters’ Security Official with his 20 soldiers (in an ambush by the Taliban in Dara-e-Soof-e-Payin district, named General Khuwani Taheri)

- Attacks by the Taliban on top of the district of Do Ab (Taliban carried out aggressive attacks on the district of Do Ab in Samangan province, 1397)

Documented Incidents Since RiV: 


Following the signing of the MoU between the Taliban and the United States, several security events in the Samangan province are as follows:

- Conflicts between two groups of the Taliban due to the collection of ushr and zakat. In Baghak village of Dara-e-Soof-e-Payen district, two key members of the Taliban named Fazel-ul-haq, military commander for Dara-e-Soof-e-Payen and Mawlawi Naim Leader of this group got killed. (15 Hamal 1399) 

- The Taliban attack on security checkpoints in (Charmaghzak and Bazarak villages) of Dara-e-Suf Bala district forcing military soldiers to defense, resulting in the death of 15 Talibs including Khanjari Deputy of Mawlawi Bari, Taliban’s district governor for Zarey district of Balkh and 22 others being wounded. Also, 2 security personnel were killed and five others were injured. (19 Hamal, year 1399)

- The Taliban intended to attack some parts of Dara-e-Suf district, however, the security forces, actively defended themselves, became aware of the attack, and launched an air operation, killing 12 Taliban and wounding 6 others. There were no casualties among the security forces. (11 Sawr, 1399)

Causes of the War:

  • Samangan is one of the third-degree provinces in the north of the country, however, there is still fighting among the Taliban and security forces in Samangan.
  • Existence of coal mines (in the districts of Dara-e-Suf Bala and Roi Do Ab) of Samangan province that the Taliban want to be benefited from.
  • Strategic and geographical location (since Samangan is a geographically strategic area and the Taliban can infiltrate other neighboring provinces through this way)