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Lawmaker says Taliban enter north Afghan provincial capital

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KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Taliban fighters entered the capital of northern Afghanistan’s Jawzjan province Saturday, a provincial lawmaker stated, after sweeping by means of 9 of 10 districts within the province.

The federal government didn’t deny lawmaker Mohammad Karim Jawzjani’s declare that Taliban fighters had entered Sheberghan, however stated town had not fallen. If town falls, it is going to be the second provincial capital in as many days to succumb to the Taliban. A number of different of the nation’s 34 provincial capitals are threatened.

On Friday, the Taliban took management of the southwestern Nimroz provincial capital of Zaranj, the place the federal government says it’s nonetheless battling insurgents contained in the capital.

Sheberghan is especially strategic as a result of it’s the stronghold of U.S-allied Uzbek warlord Rashid Dostum, whose militias are amongst these resurrected to assist the Afghan Nationwide Safety and Protection Forces.

Heavy airstrikes have been reported by residents of Sheberghan who additionally stated the Taliban had freed prisoners from town jail. They requested to stay nameless fearing retaliation from either side.

Taliban fighters have swept by means of massive swathes of Afghanistan at shocking velocity, initially taking districts, many in distant areas. In latest weeks they’ve laid siege to a number of provincial capitals throughout the nation because the final U.S. and NATO troops go away the nation. The U.S. Central Command says the withdrawal is greater than 95% full and might be completed by Aug. 31.

The U.S. Air Drive continues to assist the Afghan air pressure’s bombing of Taliban targets in southern Helmand and Kandahar provinces as Afghan safety forces attempt to stop a Taliban takeover.

On Saturday, the U.S. and British embassies in Kabul repeated a warning to its residents nonetheless there to go away “instantly” because the safety state of affairs deteriorated.

The U.S. Embassy in Kabul additionally issued an announcement Saturday condemning the Taliban’ s army onslaught saying it was opposite to the rebel group’s declare to assist a negotiated peace settlement.

The assertion referred to as for a right away finish to preventing and a begin to “negotiations to finish the struggling of the Afghan folks and pave the best way for an inclusive political settlement that advantages all Afghans and ensures that Afghanistan doesn’t once more function a protected haven for terrorists.”

On Friday, Taliban fighters assassinated Dawa Khan Menapal, the chief of the Afghan authorities’s press operations for native and overseas media. It got here simply days after a coordinated try was made to kill performing protection chief Bismillah Khan Mohammadi in a fancy and deeply safe neighborhood of the capital.

In a report back to the U.N. Safety Council on Friday the U.N. envoy for Afghanistan urged the council to demand the Taliban instantly cease attacking cities of their offensive to take extra territory.

Deborah Lyons additionally referred to as on the worldwide group to induce either side to cease preventing and negotiate to stop a “disaster” within the war-torn nation.

In Afghanistan’s Helmand and Kandahar provinces within the south of the nation hundreds of Afghans have been displaced by the preventing and dwelling in depressing situations.

In Helmand’s provincial capital of Lashkar Gah, Afghanistan’s elite commando forces aided by common troops have been attempting to dislodge the Taliban however with little success, stated Nafeeza Faiez, a provincial council member. Taliban are answerable for 9 of town’s 10 police districts.

Faiez stated situations for residents are determined as they hunker down inside their houses, unable to get provides or get to hospitals for therapy. Lots of the public buildings have additionally been badly broken within the preventing.

“Individuals haven’t any entry to any service,” she stated

Greater than half of Afghanistan’s 421 districts and district facilities are actually in Taliban palms. Whereas many are in distant areas, some are extraordinarily strategic, giving the Taliban management of profitable border crossings with Iran, Tajikistan and Pakistan.

The rebel pressure on Friday closed one of many nation’s most profitable borders with Pakistan at Spin Boldak in southeastern Afghanistan. The Taliban have been protesting a requirement from Pakistan that every one Afghans crossing the border will need to have Afghan passports and Pakistani visas.

The group stated Pakistan was implementing the calls for of the Afghan authorities and demanded that earlier procedures wherein identities have been not often checked as folks crossed the border be reinstituted.

Hundreds of Afghans and Pakistanis cross the border every day and a gentle stream of vans passes by means of, bringing items to land-locked Afghanistan from the Arabian Sea port metropolis of Karachi in Pakistan.

Lots of of individuals have been ready Saturday to move by means of and greater than 600 vans, many loaded with perishable recent meals, have been backed up in each nations.

Islamabad’s relationship with Kabul has been troubled, with either side accusing one another of harboring militants. Afghan Taliban leaders reside in Pakistan and Kabul is bitterly important of Pakistan for aiding them and treating their fighters in hospitals in Pakistan. Islamabad in the meantime expenses that Kabul gives a protected haven to the Pakistani Taliban, a separate militant group that recurrently levels assaults in Pakistan.

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Gannon reported from Islamabad.

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