Taliban 11 km from Kabul, Mazar-e-Sharif under multi-pronged attack – News Vibe24

    Taliban 11 km from Kabul, Mazar-e-Sharif under multi-pronged attack - Times of India
    Islamabad: The Taliban took control of the capitals of Paktika and Kunar provinces on Saturday and launched a major offensive from various directions in Mazar-e-Sharif, a key city in northern Afghanistan.
    After taking over the entire province of Logar, the guerrillas are almost on the threshold of Kabul. When the last reports arrived, they reached the Char Asyab area, 11 kilometers south of Kabul.
    Footage from the Paktika capital, Sharana, and Asadabad, the capital of Kunar, showed people waving the Taliban flag and walking the streets of the two cities. Provincial lawmakers in the twin cities have confirmed that intelligence departments, governors’ offices, police headquarters and local prisons are now controlled by insurgents. There had been some fighting in Sarana earlier, but local tribal leaders intervened and negotiated the withdrawal of government forces. The governor of Paktika was traveling to Kabul after the occupation of Sharana.
    In Mazar-e-Sharif, the stronghold of warlord Abdul Rashid Dostom, there were fierce fighting in the suburbs, government officials said.
    In a pre-recorded message to the nation, besieged Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said the withdrawal of Afghan forces was his top priority and pledged to prevent further bloodshed in his country. “I will not allow the imposed war to bring more destruction and death to the people. Under the current situation, the relocation of the security and defense forces is our first priority and the necessary measures are being taken to that end,” Ghani said.
    “I know you are concerned about your present and your future, but I assure you as President that my focus is on preventing further instability, violence and displacement of my people,” he said. “To do this, I have started extensive consultations inside and outside the government, with political leaders and international partners, and I will soon share the results with the people,” Ghani added.
    However, Afghan analysts believe that Ghani is no longer in control. “It is no longer about President Ghani, but about the transition as bloody as possible, as regularly as possible and as quickly as possible,” Haron Rahimi, a law professor at the American University in Afghanistan, told the media. “If Kabul comes under pressure, all hope for a political settlement will be lost,” he said, suggesting that the Kabul government should hand over power to a transitional body to negotiate a power-sharing deal with the Taliban.
    The Taliban now control more than half of the country’s provincial capitals after occupying much of northern, western and southern Afghanistan less than three weeks before the US withdrew its final troops, raising fears of a full takeover by the insurgent group or other Civil war in Afghanistan.
    With their sweeping territorial gains, the guerrillas and their supporters signaled that normalcy had returned to the provinces under their control.
    “The fighters do not harm the security personnel if they surrender voluntarily and the group works for all people regardless of their nationality,” reads one of the messages, which is likely to encourage soldiers to surrender before the Taliban attack.
    It also appears to be an attempt to dispel reports that the group has executed government political and military officials in areas it has arrested and forced girls to marry Taliban fighters.
    Top security and intelligence officials with whom the TOI has worked have said that the division of Afghan society by ethnicity was one of the main factors responsible for the rapid withdrawal of Afghan forces and the apparent collapse of the war-torn system. devastated country for 20 years.
    “Except for President Ashraf Ghani and former governor Hamid Karzai, the majority of Afghan military and civilian officers are not Pashtuns. “Two decades of foreign and local scholarships have been awarded to Afghan students and teachers,” said Zafarullah Khan, a former police and intelligence official from northwestern Pakistan along the Afghan border.
    For the past 20 years, the official said, the war against the Taliban has been waged by the Afghan National Army along with US and NATO troops in predominantly Pashtun-majority areas. “The Americans could not trust the Pashtuns to enlist in the army, as in many cases the Pashtun soldiers killed their officers or the Americans and had drained them with M16s, suggesting that many Pashtuns had joined the army for this very purpose,” he added. Khan.
    During the height of the war on terror, the Taliban ruled shadow governments in most of the Pashtun-majority provinces in a racial manner that has been practiced in Afghanistan for generations.
    Confident of their victories in the Pashtun area, the Taliban had organized in the northern provinces for the past two decades and embarked on their path of victory from Kunduz, the only Pashtun-dominated province in the north.
    “Anyone with knowledge of Afghanistan and the Afghans would know that, as predicted a decade ago, an army outside Pashtun would melt in Pashtun provinces. Afghan forces had no public acceptance in Pashtun areas. Their defeat was inevitable.” revealed conversation with Afghan elders and tribal politicians.

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