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Taliban press on, take one other Afghan provincial capital

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KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Taliban on Monday took management of one other provincial capital in Afghanistan, an official mentioned, the insurgents urgent on with their relentless offensive as American and NATO forces finalize their pullout from the war-torn nation.

The militants have ramped up their push throughout a lot of Afghanistan in current weeks, turning their weapons on provincial capitals after taking district after district and huge swaths of land within the largely rural countryside whilst they wage an assassination marketing campaign focusing on senior authorities officers within the capital, Kabul.

The sweep comes regardless of condemnations by the worldwide neighborhood and warnings from the United Nations {that a} navy victory and takeover by the Taliban wouldn’t be acknowledged. The Taliban have additionally not heeded appeals to return to the negotiating desk and proceed long-stalled peace talks with the Afghan authorities.

Based on Mohammad Noor Rahmani, the council chief of northern Sar-e Pul province, the Taliban overran the provincial capital after over every week of resistance by the Afghan safety forces, after which town of Sar-e Pul collapsed. The federal government forces have now fully withdrawn from the province, he mentioned.

A number of pro-government native militia commanders additionally surrendered to the Taliban with out a combat, permitting the insurgents to realize management of the whole province, Rahmani added.

The town of Sar-e Pul joins three different provincial capitals now absolutely underneath Taliban management: Zaranj, the capital of western Nimroz province, town of Shibirghan, the capital of northern Zawzjan province, and Taleqan, the capital of one other northern province with the identical identify.

The Taliban are additionally preventing on for management of town of Kunduz, the capital of northern Kunduz province. On Sunday, they planted their flag within the metropolis’s essential sq., the place it was seen flying atop a site visitors police sales space, a video obtained by The Related Press confirmed.

Kunduz’s seize could be a big acquire for the Taliban and a check of their potential to take and retain territory of their marketing campaign towards the Western-backed authorities. It is likely one of the nation’s bigger cities with a inhabitants of greater than 340,000, and was a key space defended towards Taliban takeover by Western troops over time.

After billions of {dollars} spent in aiding, coaching and shoring up Afghan forces, many are at odds clarify the shocking Taliban blitz that has threatened — and by now taken — a number of of the nation’s 34 provincial capitals.

Rahmani, the council chief in Sar-e Pul, mentioned the provincial capital had been underneath siege by the militants for weeks, with no reinforcements being despatched to the overstretched Afghan forces. A video circulating on social media Monday exhibits quite a lot of Taliban fighters, standing in entrance of the Sar-e Pul governor’s workplace and congratulating one another for the victory.

The country-wide Taliban offensive intensified as U.S. and NATO troops started to wrap up their withdrawal from Afghanistan this summer time. With Taliban assaults rising, Afghan safety forces and authorities troops have retaliated with airstrikes aided by america. The preventing has additionally raised rising considerations about civilian casualties.

The insurgents have additionally taken most of Lashkar Gah, the capital of southern Helmand province, the place they took 9 of the ten police districts within the metropolis final week. Heavy preventing there continues, as do U.S. and Afghan authorities airstrikes, considered one of which broken a well being clinic and a highschool.

The Protection Ministry confirmed airstrikes occurred however mentioned they focused Taliban positions, killing 54 fighters and wounding 23. Its assertion made no point out of a clinic or college being bombed. Deputy provincial council chairman Majid Akhund mentioned the amenities had been underneath Taliban management once they had been struck.

On Saturday, Taliban fighters entered the capital of the northern Jawzjan province after sweeping by 9 of 10 districts within the province. And town of Kandahar, the provincial capital of Kandahar, additionally stays underneath siege.

As they rolled by provincial capitals, the Taliban issued an English language assertion on Sunday saying that residents, authorities staff, and safety officers had nothing to worry from them.

Nevertheless, revenge assaults and repressive therapy of girls have been reported in areas now underneath Taliban management.

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