Taliban complete northeast Afghan blitz as more cities fall – News Vibe24

    Taliban complete northeast Afghan blitz as more cities fall - Times of India
    The Taliban captured three more Afghan provincial capitals and a local army headquarters on Wednesday to complete the blitz in the country’s northeast, giving them control of two-thirds of the nation as the US and NATO complete their withdrawal after decades. of war.
    The fall of the capitals of Badakhshan and Baghlan provinces in the northeast as well as Farah province in the west put increasing pressure on the country’s central government to stem the tide of progress, even when it lost a key base in Kunduz. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has rushed to the province of Balkh, which is already surrounded by Taliban-held territory, to seek help to oust insurgents from warlords linked to allegations of atrocities and corruption. He also replaced the leader of his army.
    While the capital of Kabul itself has not been directly threatened in advance, the astonishing speed of the attack raises questions about how long the Afghan government can maintain control of the remaining enemies of the country. The government may eventually be forced to withdraw to defend the capital and some other cities.
    “I think what I would say to President Ghani is that if you stay spread everywhere, the Taliban will be able to continue to successfully apply their current approach,” warned Ben Barry, a senior fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. Studies. “You have to do more than stop the Taliban. You have to show that you can repel them. ”
    The success of the Taliban offensive also calls into question whether they will ever meet again in lengthy peace talks in Qatar aimed at moving Afghanistan to an inclusive interim administration, as the West hoped. Instead, the Taliban could come to power by force – or the country could split into factional battles as it did after the Soviet withdrawal in 1989.
    Multiple battle fronts have stretched government special forces – while regular troops have often left the battlefield – and violence has prompted thousands of civilians to seek safety in the capital.
    The U.S. military, which plans to complete its withdrawal by the end of the month, has carried out some airstrikes, but has largely avoided getting involved in the ground campaign.
    Humayoon Shahidzada, a lawmaker from the western province of Farah, confirmed to the Associated Press on Wednesday that the provincial capital of the same name had fallen.
    Taliban fighters dragged the frozen, bloody corpse of an Afghan security army into the street, shouting: “God is great!” Taliban fighters carrying M-16 rifles and Humvees and Ford trucks donated by the Americans took to the streets of the capital.
    “The situation is under control in the city, our mujahideen are patrolling the city,” said an unnamed Taliban fighter, referring to his allies as “holy warriors.”
    The firing of automatic weapons continued throughout the day in Fara.
    Hujatullah Heradmand, a lawmaker from Badajsan, said the Taliban had taken control of his provincial capital, Faizabad. An Afghan official, speaking on condition of anonymity, spoke of an unrecognized loss, saying Baglan’s capital, Poli-Khumri, had also fallen.
    The Afghan government and military have not responded to repeated requests for comment on the casualties.
    The rebels had earlier captured six other provincial capitals in less than a week.
    On Wednesday, the headquarters of the 217th Afghan National Army Corps at Kunduz airport fell to the Taliban, according to Gulam Rabbani Rabbani, a member of Kunduz provincial council and lawmaker Shah Khan Serzad. The guerrillas posted videos on the internet, saying they appeared to be handing over troops.
    The provincial capital, also known as Kuduz, was already among those occupied, and the occupation of the base now places the northeastern part of the country firmly in the hands of the Taliban.
    It was not immediately clear what equipment was left behind for the guerrillas, although a Taliban video showed them parading in Humvees and trucks. Another video showed fighters on the airport tarmac next to an attack helicopter without rotor blades.
    In the southern province of Helmand, where the Taliban control almost the entire capital of Laskar Gar, a suicide bomber targeted a government police headquarters, said provincial council leader Ataullah Afghan. The building has been under siege for two weeks.
    The rapid fall of large parts of the country to the Taliban raises fears that the brutal tactics they used to rule Afghanistan before will return, including the severe curtailment of women’s rights. Some civilians who abandoned the Taliban’s advance said insurgents imposed restrictive restrictions on women and burned schools, and there were reports of revenge killings.
    In the face of rapid deterioration in Afghanistan, Germany and the Netherlands announced on Wednesday that they would suspend deportations to the country.
    Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, a senior EU official said insurgents were holding about 230 of the more than 400 districts in Afghanistan. The official described another 65 under government control, while the rest were disputed. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the internal details.

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