Afghan forces have captured the second-largest city in the country in just two days, as the Taliban tries to win back territory after a massive military operation that has seen it seize large swathes of territory, and possibly even the capital.
The Taliban has claimed that they have taken the city of Kandahar in the southern province of Helmand, as they continue their advance towards the capital city, Kabul, in their fight against the government of President Ashraf Ghani. The Taliban has claimed that they have taken the city of Kandahar, after other reports suggested that the Taliban was in control of some areas in the city, but the Afghan Government is yet to confirm the reports.
Taliban militants in southern Afghanistan have captured the key city of Kandahar and are moving towards the capital in a bid to topple the Western backed government in Kabul. According to a statement from the insurgents, the Taliban have captured key districts in Afghan cities of Lashkar Gah, Gonbad and Arghandab.
Kandahar, in the country’s south, has been under Taliban siege for weeks, and many analysts believe its collapse marks the beginning of the end for the country’s US-backed administration.
The Taliban claimed possession of the governor’s office, police headquarters, and other major operational hubs across the city in a statement released Friday. According to the Taliban, “hundreds of weapons, trucks, and ammo were captured.”
Kamin claimed he and a large group of people had arrived at a military facility near the city’s international airport and were waiting for a flight out.
“A large number of (government) troops surrendered, while the remainder fled,” Kamin added.
Taliban militants had broken through the city’s lines, Kamin had previously told CNN, and were engaged in intermittent clashes with government troops.
Kandahar, which sits at the crossroads of three main routes, is strategically important and served as a key center for US military activities in the past. Its capture is the Taliban’s most important victory yet, since the group now controls at least 14 of the country’s 34 provincial capitals.
The overwhelming bulk of the Taliban’s territorial gains have occurred since American troops started withdrawing in May and are expected to be finished by late August.
Taliban wins ground quickly.
According to Afghan authorities, the Taliban took possession of the governor’s office and Herat police headquarters in Herat, Afghanistan’s third-largest city and a key metropolitan hub in western Afghanistan, on Thursday evening local time.
Kamran Alizai, the chairman of the Herat Provincial Council, claimed Friday that the whole city had been taken, with the exception of the army corps headquarters. The Taliban stormed into the Herat jail, releasing a significant number of prisoners, according to another provincial council member from Herat who did not want to be identified.
According to a member of the Badghis provincial council, Qala-I-Naw city, the provincial seat of the northwest Badghis province, surrendered to the militant organization on Thursday evening.
According to Nasir Ahmad Faqiri, the chairman of the Ghazni provincial council, the city of Ghazni, a major provincial capital on the route to Kabul, fell to the terrorist organization early on Thursday following “long and heavy combat.”
Ghazni is about 150 kilometers (93 miles) south of Kabul, on a main route that connects the city with Kandahar.
The Taliban now controls important areas both north and south of Kabul, thanks to the conquest of Ghazni. Their previous takeover of parts of Baghlan province, which is located to the north of Kabul, alarmed US authorities since the region is critical for the capital’s security.
According to a senior source in the Biden administration aware with one US intelligence estimate, the Taliban may isolate Kabul in the next 30 to 60 days, raising the likelihood that the Afghan capital would come under their hands shortly.
In response to the Taliban’s offensive, the US announced it would send 3,000 troops to Kabul to help with a “reduction of civilian personnel at the embassy in Kabul” and “facilitate the processing of” Special Immigrant Visas for Afghan nationals who assisted Americans during their time in Afghanistan, according to Pentagon spokesman John Kirby.
According to Kirby, two of the infantry battalions heading to Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul are US Marines, while the other is US Army. According to Kirby, the Defense Department would also send in an extra 1,000 troops from the US Army and Air Force to assist with visa applications.
The US embassy in Kabul has already advised US citizens to leave Afghanistan immediately.
The advances achieved by extremists over night increased to the international community’s concern. Ben Wallace, the UK’s defence minister, said on Friday that he is “extremely concerned” that al Qaeda would “likely return” to Afghanistan after US and British soldiers have left.
“I’ve been very frank about it publicly, and that’s quite an unusual thing when it comes to a United States decision,” Wallace said, challenging the US decision to withdraw troops. “But tactically, it creates a lot of difficulties.”
The UK has sent 600 soldiers to the nation to assist in the evacuation of diplomatic personnel, while German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has urged support workers to leave the country as soon as possible due to the “increasingly dangerous” scenario.
In a statement released Friday, Seehofer stated, “There is no time for bureaucracy; we must act.”
On Monday, the Taliban captured the key city of Kandahar in southern Afghanistan, as part of their push toward the capital Kabul.. Read more about herat and let us know what you think.
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