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Taliban seize province near capital, attack northern city


The insurgents have captured much of northern, western and southern Afghanistan in a breakneck offensive much less than a few weeks ahead of the United States is set to withdraw its last troops, boosting fears of a comprehensive militant takeover or an additional Afghan civil war.

The Taliban captured all of Logar and detained its provincial officers, Hoda Ahmadi, a lawmaker from the province, explained Saturday. She stated the Taliban have arrived at the Char Asyab district, just 11 kilometers (7 miles) south of the capital, Kabul.

The Taliban also attacked the northern town of Mazar-e-Sharif from a number of instructions, placing off weighty combating on its outskirts, according to Munir Ahmad Farhad, a spokesman for the provincial governor. There was no speedy phrase on casualties.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani shipped a televised speech on Saturday, his initially general public look due to the fact the new Taliban gains, in which he vowed not to give up the “achievements” of the 20 several years considering the fact that the U.S. toppled the Taliban next the 9/11 attacks.

“We have started consultations, inside of the govt with elders and political leaders, representatives of distinctive degrees of the group as perfectly as our international allies,” he said. “Before long the benefits will be shared with you,” he added, without the need of elaborating even more.

The president experienced flown to Mazar-e-Sharif on Wednesday to rally the city’s defenses, conference with a number of militia commanders, which includes Abdul Rashid Dostum and Ata Mohammad Noor, who command thousands of fighters.

They keep on being allied with the government, but all through previous rounds of preventing in Afghanistan, warlords have been recognized to change sides for their possess survival. Ismail Khan, a potent previous warlord who had tried using to defend Herat, was captured by the Taliban when the insurgents seized the western city just after two months of large fighting.

Residents of Mazar-e-Sharif expressed concern about the protection breakdown.

“The condition is unsafe outdoors of the metropolis and inside of the metropolis,” Mohibullah Khan claimed, introducing that quite a few people are also battling economically.

“The protection problem in the town is having worse,” reported Kawa Basharat. “I want peace and security. The battling really should be stopped.”

The Taliban have manufactured major advances in new days, which includes capturing Herat and Kandahar, the country’s next- and third-major metropolitan areas. They now handle 18 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces, leaving the Western-backed authorities in management of a smattering of provinces in the middle and east, as well as Kabul and Mazar-e-Sharif.

The withdrawal of foreign forces and the swift retreat of Afghanistan’s possess troops — irrespective of hundreds of billions of bucks in U.S. assist above the several years — has raised fears the Taliban could return to power or the state could be shattered by factional combating, as it was right after the Soviet withdrawal in 1989.

The to start with Marines from a contingent of 3,000 arrived on Friday to help partly evacuate the U.S. Embassy. The relaxation are established to get there by Sunday, and their deployment has elevated thoughts about no matter if the administration will meet its Aug. 31 withdrawal deadline.

The Taliban in the meantime introduced a online video announcing the takeover of the key radio station in the southern city of Kandahar, renaming it the Voice of Sharia, or Islamic regulation.

In the video clip, an unnamed insurgent reported all personnel ended up present and would broadcast news, political assessment and recitations of the Quran, the Islamic holy e book. It appears the station will no more time enjoy songs.

It was not distinct if the Taliban had purged the past staff or allowed them to return to perform. Most inhabitants of Kandahar sport the regular gown favored by the Taliban. The gentleman in the online video congratulated the persons of Kandahar on the Taliban’s victory.

The Taliban have utilized mobile radio stations over the yrs, but have not operated a station inside of a key metropolis considering that they ruled the nation from 1996-2001. At that time, they also ran a station identified as Voice of Sharia out of Kandahar, the birthplace of the militant team. Tunes was banned.

The U.S. invaded shortly right after the 9/11 attacks, which al-Qaida planned and carried out while remaining sheltered by Taliban. Soon after rapidly ousting the Taliban, the U.S. shifted towards nation-setting up, hoping to produce a modern day Afghan point out after many years of war and unrest.

Before this yr, President Joe Biden introduced a timeline for the withdrawal of all U.S. troops by the conclusion of August, pledging to conclusion America’s longest war. His predecessor, President Donald Trump, had reached an arrangement with the Taliban to pave the way for a U.S. pullout.

Biden’s announcement set the hottest offensive in movement. The Taliban, who have extensive managed significant components of the Afghan countryside, moved promptly to seize provincial capitals, border crossings and other vital infrastructure.

Tens of 1000’s of Afghans have fled their residences, with a lot of fearing a return to the Taliban’s oppressive rule. The group experienced formerly governed Afghanistan below a severe variation of Islamic legislation in which women were being largely confined to the dwelling.

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Rahim documented from Istanbul and Krauss reported from Jerusalem.



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