Taliban takes over provincial capitals in Afghanistan, officials say

KABUL, Afghanistan — The Taliban seized three more provincial capitals in Afghanistan, officials said Wednesday, putting nine of the nation’s 34 in the insurgents’ hands amid the U.S. withdrawal from the country.

The fall of the capitals of Badakhshan and Baghlan provinces to the northeast and Farah province to the west put increasing pressure on the country’s central government to stem the tide of the advance.

While Kabul itself has not been directly threatened in the advance, the Taliban offensive continues to stretch Afghan security forces now largely fighting against the insurgents on their own.

The Taliban has now taken over three more provincial capitals in Afghanistan, officials report.
The Taliban has now taken over three more provincial capitals in Afghanistan, officials report.
AP

The Afghan government and military did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Aside the current provinces Taliban seized, Kunduz in Kunduz province was taken over a week before --  one of the biggest province capitals in Afghan.
Aside from recent provinces Taliban has taken over, Kunduz in Kunduz province was seized — which is one of the biggest province capitals.
AP

Humayoon Shahidzada, a lawmaker from Farah, confirmed to The Associated Press his province’s capital fell. Hujatullah Kheradmand, a lawmaker from Badakhshan, said the Taliban had seized his province. An Afghan official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to speak about an unacknowledged loss, said Baghlan’s capital also fell.

The insurgents earlier captured six other provincial capitals in the country in less than a week, including Kunduz in Kunduz province — one of the country’s largest cities.

With Afghan regular forces falling apart and collapsing over the years, Taliban forces have made their way in securing various provinces in Afghanistan.
With Afghan regular forces falling apart and collapsing over the years, Taliban forces have made their way in securing various provinces in Afghanistan.
AP

After a 20-year Western military mission and billions of dollars spent training and shoring up Afghan forces, many are at odds to explain why the regular forces have collapsed, fleeing the battle sometimes by the hundreds. The fighting has fallen largely to small groups of elite forces and the Afghan air force.

The success of the Taliban blitz has added urgency to the need to restart the long-stalled talks in Qatar that could end the fighting and move Afghanistan toward an inclusive interim administration. The insurgents have so far refused to return to the negotiating table.

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