The Taliban has seized two extra provincial capitals in Afghanistan, taking management of eight main cities in simply 4 days amid a relentless wave of assaults as US President Joe Biden urges Afghans to battle for his or her nation.
After a collection of assaults on Tuesday, the militant group captured Farah metropolis within the southwest – capital of the province of the identical title – in addition to the capital of Baghlan province, Pul-e-Khumri, situated simply 125 miles (200km) from the nationwide capital of Kabul. Native officers confirmed that each cities had fallen to reporters with Al Jazeera and AFP.
“The Taliban are actually within the metropolis,” Baghlan MP Mamoor Ahmadzai informed AFP, including that the group “raised their flag in the primary sq. and on the governor’s workplace constructing.”
The Taliban has captured a complete of eight provincial capitals within the house of 4 days because it intensifies assaults throughout Afghanistan. The group took Zaranj in Nimroz province on Friday, adopted by Sheberghan in Jowzjan province the following day. Sunday noticed the cities of Sar-e-Pol and Taloqan fall, in addition to Kunduz – one of many largest cities within the northeast – whereas Taliban fighters overran Aibak in Samangan province on Monday.
Responding to the newest Taliban beneficial properties, President Joe Biden insisted that he didn’t remorse his resolution to withdraw American forces from the nation after a 20-year marketing campaign, telling reporters the plan “is not going to change.” He additionally urged Afghan officers to unite to defend their nation, arguing they have been well-equipped to take action.
“We spent over $1 trillion over 20 years. We skilled and outfitted with trendy tools over 300,000 Afghan forces,” Biden stated throughout a press convention, including that “Afghan leaders have to come back collectively.”
We misplaced 1000’s, we misplaced to loss of life and damage, 1000’s of American personnel. They’ve received to battle for themselves. Combat for his or her nation.
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Afghan forces have largely folded beneath the Taliban onslaught, and the group is more likely to broaden its beneficial properties within the coming days because it begins to threaten different provincial facilities. Taliban fighters are actually besieging the capitals of Helmand and Kandahar within the south, whereas the group announced on Tuesday that it’s “on the verge of getting into Feyzabad metropolis,” capital of the Badakhshan area, saying native authorities forces had “suffered heavy casualties” there. The key metropolis of Mazar-i-Sharif in Balkh province can also be beneath assault, although the Afghan authorities stated it repelled an incursion there on Tuesday.
Maybe most alarming for Afghan officers – and their American counterparts – are Taliban strikes in Kabul itself, the seat of the central authorities. Over the past week, the group has set off a number of automotive bombs within the metropolis and carried out quite a lot of focused assassinations, stoking fears it may quickly threaten the nation’s capital.
Whereas the Pentagon stated the US withdrawal from Afghanistan was greater than 90% full final month, American airstrikes on the Taliban have seen a significant uptick, with the New York Instances reporting “dozens” in current weeks. US officers additionally informed the Instances that the Pentagon is “doubtless” to hunt authorization for one more air marketing campaign within the coming months ought to insurgents significantly threaten Kabul or Kandahar metropolis, elevating questions on whether or not Washington really intends to go away the nation by Biden’s September 11 deadline.
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