Afghanistan: Taliban Makes Rapid Advances Towards Kabul, Captures Key Cities Of Kandahar, Herat And Lashkar Gah As 14 Provincial Capitals Fall

by Swarajya Staff - Aug 13, 2021 10:28 AM
Afghanistan: Taliban Makes Rapid Advances Towards Kabul, Captures Key Cities Of Kandahar, Herat And Lashkar Gah As 14 Provincial Capitals FallTaliban media team
Snapshot
  • In their biggest military victories since they commenced a broad offensive in May, Taliban has captured Kandahar, Afghanistan’s second-largest city, Herat, its third and the key city of Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province.

    U.S Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin speak to Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani “to stress that the United States remains invested in the security and stability of Afghanistan in the face of violence by the Taliban”,

    U.S and Britain said they would send thousands of troops to help evacuate their embassy staff.

In their biggest military victories since they commenced a broad offensive in May, Taliban has captured Kandahar, Afghanistan’s second-largest city, Herat, its third and the key city of Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province.

Taliban have already taken control of at least 14 of country’s 34 provincial capitals in a week.

The city of Ghazni fell to the militant group on Thursday (Aug 12) morning local time after “long and intense fighting,” CNN reported. Just one unit of the Afghan intelligence and police remains outside the control of the militants.

The loss of Ghazni, which is 53 miles south of Kabul along a major road that connects the capital to the country’s southern provinces, is a strategic setback for Afghan government forces as the Taliban now controls key locations both north and south of the capital.

AP quoted Ghazni provincial council member Amanullah Kamrani as saying that the city had been taken by insurgents, though two bases outside of the city remain under the control of government forces. Kamrani also claimed that Ghazni’s provincial governor and police chief struck a deal with the Taliban to flee after surrendering.

Taliban's rapid advance comes even as United States and NATO are set to withdraw from the country entirely after decades of war.

US remains invested in Afghan security: Blinken tells Ghani

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin spoke to Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani “to stress that the United States remains invested in the security and stability of Afghanistan in the face of violence by the Taliban”, the US State Department says in a statement.

“Secretary Blinken and Secretary Austin informed President Ghani that the United States is reducing our civilian footprint in Kabul in light of the evolving security situation and will accelerate the tempo of Special Immigration Visa (SIV) flights,” the statement said.

“The Secretaries both emphasized that the United States remains committed to maintaining a strong diplomatic and security relationship with the Government of Afghanistan.”

The State Department said it would also increase the tempo of Special Immigration Visa flights for Afghans who helped the U.S. effort in the country.

U.S and Britain to send thousands of troops to help evacuate their embassy staff

The United States and Britain said they would send thousands of troops to help evacuate their embassy staff.

U.S. forces will deploy to Afghanistan and other sites in U.S. Central Command to ensure safety of American embassy personnel and to facilitate the departure of Afghans under the special immigrant visa program, Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby said.

"We believe that this is the prudent thing to do given the rapidly deteriorating security situation in and around Kabul," Kirby said.

The press secretary said the idea is still to complete the drawdown in Afghanistan by the end of the month.

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