The Epic Of Sangin: Beyond The Storyline
24 February 2016
By Al-Ikhwah Al-Mujahidun
On Wednesday 23rd of December 2015 the district of Sangin in southern Helmand
province was completely cleansed from the filth of occupation and afforded an
opportunity to breathe the clean fresh air of freedom for the first time in 14
Many media conglomerates broadcasted this event and many analysts debated the
pitfalls and shortcomings of the righteous campaign but none actually veered
into the depths of this monumental event and searched beyond the storyline to
understand the sacrifices, courage and epics which transpired here.
The epic of Sangin is not some one-day event or some average incident that can
be summarized in a few short radio segments or analysis rather this event has
a 14 year story and enormous sacrifices behind it. Sangin has not only
defeated the local auxiliary forces rather Britain, America and many European
countries have also tested their mettle and each one has left with a mountain
of skulls and tidal waves of disappointments.
Today as I reminisced in my memories I was hit with a seemingly endless series
of untold tales of heroics, valor and sacrifices that have taken place in
every corner of the proud land of Afghanistan. Although the long story of
Sangin cannot be done justice to by writing it down on a piece of paper
however I wish to share a small sample of my recollections.
Getting to know Sangin
I had heard of the name Sangin but only came to know it as a Jihad-loving and
invader crushing region when British soldiers entered it and found themselves
embroiled in bloody fighting in 2007. I still vividly remember how BBC was
shocked by the fact the British had lost 10 soldiers in a single week at
Sangin. The then British general in Helmand frustrated by the war in Sangin
and with a spirit of vengeance declared during an interview: As a soldier I
believe the history of Maiwand will not be repeated in Sangin, meaning that
the English forces will not accept defeat at the hands of Afghan villagers.
This arrogant assertion would be proven wrong by history as the Englishmen
left Sangin wishing Maiwand had shown her face and delivered them from this
Axe wielding child vs Tanks
This incident was narrated to me in the year 2009 by Mullah Ruhul Amin Ruhani,
a resident of Sangin's Sarwan Kala region who at the time was the Jihadi
in-charge of Uruzgan province.
One day a convoy of about 32 vehicles mainly Ford Ranger pickup trucks of
hirelings backed by several US tanks (APCs) arrived at Sarwan Kala region from
Kajaki district. Mujahidin cut-off all 3 routes leading out of Sarwan Kala
before initiating attacks on the enemy. At this moment many villagers rushed
out in the support of Mujahidin to the extent that I saw an elderly woman
shooting at the Englishmen with a pistol, a child wielding an axe as he ran
towards the battlefield and an old man firing round after round with his old
Enfield rifle. These attacks forced the enemy troops to begin abandoning their
vehicles and running towards the nearby hills to seek protection as bullets
flied towards them from behind. All in all only 2 vehicles managed to escape
towards Sangin center while the other vehicles along with a large amount of
arms and equipment including 4 mortar tubes with 300 rounds each were seize by
the Mujahidin. At night about 30 helicopters arrived to the area, not to
engage the Mujahidin, but merely to recover the bodies of their comrades and
rescue the stranded.
Story by Mullah Obaidul Rahman
Mullah Obaidul Rahman is a famous Taliban commander and the nephew of the
martyr, Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Uthmani.
I met him in the month of May 2010 when he was a 25 year old commander of a
Jihadi front in Sangin. He narrated the following to me about the situation of
The enemy has erected about 30 check posts in the very small area between
Sangin riverbed and Greshk and they have similarly built big outposts in
Sangin bazaar and Majeed intersection. The enemy has exerted a lot of force to
secure the road stretching towards Kajaki however the entire outlying rural
areas are under the control of Mujahidin.
Every time the enemy combat patrols leave their bases they run into a
labyrinth of IED networks or Mujahideen groups who engaged them with 82mm
recoilless rifles, RPGs, snipers and M16 rifles, often forcing the enemy to
throw smoke grenades for cover as they collect their casualties and begin
their march back towards their bases.
The enemy base located at Majeed intersection is regularly targeted by
Mujahideen from the adjacent buildings where they have constructed small holes
into the walls from to shoot at any soldier who dares to show himself.
Mujahidin have killed many enemy personnel manning the guard tower that is why
they have now concealed them with camouflage which makes their spotting very
The enemy is also using small aircrafts which they fly from their bases for
recon before setting out on their patrols however the Mujahidin have countered
them with sniper fire, taking into possession around 12 various shaped planes.
Similarly over the past one and a half month over 35 enemy tanks (APCs) have
been destroyed in this area alone with IEDs and rocket attacks.
Countering IED finding robot
Mullah Obaidul Rahman also narrated how they foiled a new technique of the
He said that as the losses of the foreigners began mounting and their routes
were closed off due to the effective use of IEDs by the Mujahidin, they began
employing robotic vehicles which would veer out of the enemy outposts before a
patrol set out.
This technique was successful to an extent as the enemy managed to destroy
many IEDs using this robot to would drive to the area of concern, place
explosives over a detected IED and detonate it after driving away to a safe
This robot began causing concern among the Mujahidin so one day 2 courageous
Mujahidin drove close an outpost where an IED was placed in anticipation of
the robot. When the robot came out to search for IEDs, one of the Mujahid ran
towards it and wrapped it in his shoulder shroud as the second drove towards
him in a motorbike before both sped off with their prized trophy.
Both of the participants of this operation said that the robot beeped a
multitude of sounds during its captivity but technology succumbed when faced
with the power of Iman (faith).
It goes without saying that the epics of Sangin like all other victories are
only gained with a multitude of skulls and selfless sacrifices of a caravan of
unnamed heroes who present their souls to the Lord of the Universe in no other
hope but gaining a moment of His pleasure while asking for nothing else in
In this series I remembered the story of an old man from Sarwan Kala region's
Alokozo village who displayed the power of his faith to the infidels on
January 18th 2011 when he struck an American commander in the head with a
stone and put him to everlasting sleep. I cannot remember the name of this old
man who was later martyred with hundreds of bullets but I do remember the name
of another teenager who about a month later stabbed to death 2 American
soldiers in Sangin bazaar, his name was Jalat Khan.
Other such heroes who have laid down their lives in the battles of Sangin and
through the blessings of whose sacrifices we are celebrating this current
victory are Mullah Abdul Bari, Haji Nasrullah, Mawlawi Sa'aduddin, Hafiz Nasim,
Mullah Muhammad Nazar Farooqi, Mullah Abdul Qawi, Mullah Amin Tofan, Mullah
Abdul Ghafar, Mullah Lala, Haji Ahmad, Haji Mullah Muhammad Jamali and
hundreds of others, may Allah accept their martyrdoms.
WWI tactic and current advance
The invaders exerted all force they could muster to tame Sangin, erecting
thousands of posts in the province and hundreds in Sangin before exhaustion
caught up with them as the unending guerilla tactics of Mujahidin took its
On the 19th May of 2013 hundreds of Mujahidin crossed the wild Helmand River
and infiltrated into Sarwan Kala region, formally bringing an end to guerilla
tactics and ushering in a period of frontal warfare by launching fierce
relentless attacks on the Arbaki militia check posts.
Taliban easily uprooted the enemy check posts but the huge fortified army
bases needed a strategy buried deep inside history books. A tactic used by the
French forces against the fortified German positions a hundred years earlier.
According to a Taliban commander, the Mujahidin painstakingly began digging
tunnels towards the enemy outposts from a distance of about a hundred meters
before placing between 1000-1200 kg of explosives right under them and blowing
these structures to smithereens.
Realizing the strategic importance of Sangin, the governor of Helmand Mullah
Abdul Manan Akhund initially cleared Sarwan Kala region and closed it off the
road stretching towards Kajaki. With his orders the Mujahidin then demolished
all check posts located between Sangin and Gerishk districts which resulted in
the complete isolation of enemy troops in Sangin. To break this siege and
reverse Taliban gains the regime launched an operation dubbed ‘Zulfiqar' in
the month of February 2015 where they set fire to Malmand bazaar and razed
around 1500 homes and orchards on the road between Gerishk and Sangin.
However these barbarities failed to yield the desired outcome rather it had
the complete opposite effect as it further infuriated the nation resulting in
the state we are witnessing today; Sangin cleansed from the enemy scourge,
basking under the shade of the white flag of Islamic Emirate.