Almost 30,000 army personnel fall under this corps and ensure the security of 114 districts in nine provinces in the north and north-eastern region
209 Shaheen Corps: The Base The Taliban Attacked
Located in Dehdadi district in Balkh and opened in 2006, originally as a U.S base called Camp Mike Spann, the Afghan National Army’s 209 Shaheen Corps Headquarters is responsible for security of nine northern and north-eastern provinces – provinces that have witnessed major terror attacks over the past three years.
Almost 30,000 army personnel fall under this corps and ensure security of 114 districts in Balkh, Jawzjan, Faryab, Sar-e-Pul, Samangan, Kunduz, Takhar, Badakhshan and Baghlan provinces.
The camp, which for many years was the site of training and advising of Afghan soldiers, was officially handed over to the Afghan defense force in 2014.
On Friday, Taliban insurgents penetrated multi layers of security barriers and carried out a deadly attack that claimed the lives of an estimated 135 people. This was the first time in 12 years that this base came under attack by militants.
Last year, a man pretending to be from the National Security Council, managed to usurp armored vehicles and helicopters at the base for a short time before being identified as a fraud. He was later arrested by the National Security Council.
“The Shaheen Corps headquarters is the backbone of the security of nine northern provinces. The forces in the base are those who are able to stop militants and give morale to the security forces,” said Mohammad Abduh, an MP from Balkh.
Military affairs analyst Mirza Mohammad Yarmand said the breach of the base was alarming, especially in terms of security in the north and north-eastern provinces.
“The corps has the security responsibly from Faryab to Badakhshan. We have witnessed that security forces gave a major strike to the enemies in those parts. This is why they were targeted,” he said.
Concerns have been raised that some areas, that fall under this corps, particularly in Kunduz, Faryab, Takhar and Badakhshan, haverecently witnessed a sharp increase in Taliban activities. The insurgent group even has control over a number of districts in this region.
“The 209 Shaheen Corps is one of the most important corps in Afghanistan which has had good achievements in the past 15 years,” the defense ministry spokesman Dawlat Waziri said.
However, there have been a few successes. Troops based at 209 Shaheen Corps, in collaboration with other security forces, last week managed to kill the Taliban’s designated governor for Baghlan and 30 of his fighters.