NewsThree more major cities are under Taliban control, as...

Three more major cities are under Taliban control, as the government’s forces near collapse.

-

[ad_1]

KABUL, Afghanistan — Three major cities in western and southern Afghanistan were confirmed on Friday to have fallen to the Taliban, as the insurgents’ race to take control of the country accelerated.

The Taliban seized Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand Province, on Friday morning after a weekslong battle that left parts of the city in ruins, hospitals filled with the wounded and dying, and residents asking what would come next under their new rulers. Hours earlier, the insurgents had captured Herat, a cultural hub in the west, and Kandahar, the country’s second-largest city, where the Taliban first proclaimed their so-called emirate in the 1990s.

The speed of the cities’ collapse, combined with American officials’ announcement Thursday that they would evacuate most of the United States Embassy, has deepened the sense of panic across the country as thousands try to flee from the Taliban advance.

Only three major Afghan cities — the capital, Kabul, Jalalabad and Mazar-i-Sharif — remain under government control, and one is under siege by the Taliban. With the collapse of both Lashkar Gah and Kandahar, the Taliban now effectively control southern Afghanistan, a powerful symbol of their resurgence, just weeks before the United States is set to completely withdraw from the country.

Over the past week, the Taliban have taken one Afghan city after another in a rapid offensive that has left them well positioned to attack Kabul. The government’s forces appear close to a complete collapse. Some American officials fear that the Afghan government will not last another month.

See also  A Possible Election Call as the Pandemic’s 4th Wave Gets Underway
See also  Before the fall of Kabul, Biden defends his decision to leave Afghanistan.

On Friday, the Taliban also seized Pul-e-Alam, the provincial capital of Logar Province, south of Kabul, and Firoz Koh, the provincial capital of Ghor Province, in central Afghanistan.

“Sporadic clashes happened last night, but no serious resistance was reported,” said Gul Zaman Naeb, a member of Parliament representing Ghor Province. “When the people woke up this morning, they saw Taliban fighters in the streets and government offices.”

Helmand Province is a volatile swath of territory, much of which the Taliban have controlled since 2015. In recent months, the Afghan government has struggled to hold ground there, and recent airstrikes in the region by the United States and Afghan air forces failed to stop the Taliban offensive.

Lashkar Gah, Helmand’s capital, has been on the brink of disaster for more than a decade. Helmand has long been home to the Taliban, who spread to the province after the group’s rise in neighboring Kandahar in 1994 and proceeded to make millions there off the illicit sale of opium poppies.

The fall of Lashkar Gah is a sad coda for the American and British military missions in Helmand that, combined, lasted over a decade. Both countries focused much of their efforts on securing the province, losing hundreds of troops to roadside bombs and brutal gunfights there.

Kandahar, in particular, is a huge prize for the Taliban. It is the economic hub of southern Afghanistan, and it was the birthplace of the insurgency in the 1990s, serving as the militants’ capital for part of their five-year rule. By seizing the city, the Taliban can effectively proclaim a return to power, if not complete control.

See also  As Italian vaccine passports come into force, tiny San Marino is left isolated.
See also  Israel will add more countries, including the U.S., to its quarantine list.

On Friday, officials from Uruzgan and Zabul, two provinces long considered part of the Taliban’s heartland, said that local elders in both were negotiating a complete handover of the territory to the insurgent group.

Taimoor Shah contributed reporting from Kandahar, and Sharif Hassan from Kabul.

[ad_2]

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest news

How to write an essay on religion

First, what is a religious essay? Religion is both interesting and thought-provoking. It has existed since the beginning of human...

How to Be a Better Christian: 5 Important Tips

As a Christian, you believe in all the goodness that God has brought into your life, but it can...

How to Save Money With Your Family

Saving money is never easy, and saving money as a family can be even more difficult. If you’re interested...

Watch livescore football and become a professional in your favorite game

A new season in the Spanish championship has started. Now, you can follow all the competitions from the world...

Your Thursday Briefing

We’re covering the Taliban’s violent response to protesters and Israel’s Covid surge despite high vaccination rates.The Taliban met...

Garth Brooks cancels tour dates due to Delta variant

The country superstar on Wednesday said he's canceling the next five stops on his tour, the last of...

Must read

How to write an essay on religion

First, what is a religious essay? Religion is both interesting...

How to Be a Better Christian: 5 Important Tips

As a Christian, you believe in all the goodness...

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you