Taliban abduction Afghanistan’s better cities Kandahar, Herat; US starts evacuating embassies
The Taliban captured two above Afghan cities, Kandahar and Herat, the country's second- and third-largest afterwards Kabul, and a cardinal bigoted basic on Thursday.
Taliban fighters convoying central the burghal of Ghazni, southwest of Kabul on Thursday. (AP)
The Taliban captured two above Afghan cities, the country's second- and third-largest afterwards Kabul, and a cardinal bigoted basic on Thursday, added binding the active government aloof weeks afore the end of the American aggressive mission in Afghanistan.
for the Taliban, who accept taken 12 of Afghanistan's 34 bigoted capitals as allotment of a weeklong blitz.
The abduction of the burghal of Ghazni, meanwhile, cuts off a acute artery bond the Afghan capital, Kabul, with the country's southern provinces, all allotment of an anarchical advance some 20 years afterwards US and NATO troops invaded and ousted the Taliban government.
While Kabul itself isn't anon beneath blackmail yet, the losses and the battles abroad added bind the anchor of a resurgent Taliban, who are estimated to now authority over two-thirds of the country and abide to columnist their offensive.
With aegis rapidly deteriorating, the United States planned to accelerate in 3,000 troops to advice abandon some cadre from the US Embassy in Kabul. Separately, Britain said about 600 troops would be deployed on a concise base to abutment British nationals abrogation the country.
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Thousands of Afghans accept fled their homes amidst fears the Taliban will afresh appoint a brutal, backbreaking government, all but eliminating women's rights and administering accessible amputations, stonings and executions. Accord talks in Qatar abide stalled, admitting diplomats met throughout the day.
The latest US aggressive intelligence appraisal suggests Kabul could appear beneath anarchical burden aural 30 canicule and that, if accepted trends hold, the
of the country aural a few months. The Afghan government may eventually be affected to cull aback to avert the basic and aloof a few added cities in the advancing canicule if the Taliban accumulate up their momentum.
The aggression represents a beauteous collapse of Afghan armament and renews questions about breadth the over $830 billion spent by the US Aegis Administering on fighting, training those troops, and about-face efforts went — abnormally as Taliban fighters ride on American-made Humvees and auto trucks with M-16s slung beyond their shoulders.
Afghan aegis armament and the government accept not responded to again questions from journalists over the canicule of fighting, instead arising video communiques that downplay
In Herat, Taliban fighters rushed accomplished the Great Mosque in the celebrated burghal — which dates to 500 BC and was already a blemish of Alexander the Great — and bedeviled government buildings. Assemblage declared audition desultory battery at one government architecture while the blow of the burghal fell bashful beneath the insurgents' control.
Herat had been beneath active advance for two weeks, with one beachcomber blunted by the accession of warlord Ismail Khan and his forces. But on Thursday afternoon, Taliban fighters bankrupt through the city's arresting curve and afterwards said they were in control.
Afghan administrator Semin Barekzai additionally accustomed the city's fall, adage that some admiral there had escaped. Assemblage declared seeing Taliban fighters once-detained at Herat's bastille now advisedly affective on the streets.
It wasn't anon bright what happened to Khan, who beforehand had been declared as beneath advance with his armament at a government building.
In Kandahar, the Taliban bedeviled the governor's appointment and added buildings, assemblage said. The governor and added admiral fled the onslaught, communicable a flight to Kabul, the assemblage added. They beneath to be alleged about as the defeat has yet to be accustomed by the government.
The Taliban had beforehand attacked a bastille in Kandahar and freed inmates inside, admiral said.
Earlier Thursday, the militants aloft their white flags imprinted with an Islamic announcement of acceptance over the burghal of Ghazni, aloof 130 kilometers (80 miles) southwest of Kabul.
Ghazni bigoted board affiliate Amanullah Kamrani declared that the bigoted governor and badge arch fabricated a accord with the Taliban to abscond afterwards surrendering. Taliban video and photos declared to appearance the governor's accompany advisedly casual by insurgents as allotment of the deal.
Afghan Interior Ministry agent Mirwais Stanekzai afterwards said the governor and his assembly had been arrested over that declared deal. The admiral could not be anon accomplished for comment.
Stanekzai additionally accustomed in a video bulletin that genitalia of Ghanzi had fallen, admitting he insisted government aegis armament "do exist" in the city.
The accident of Ghazni — which sits forth the Kabul-Kandahar Artery — could complicate resupply and movement for government forces, as able-bodied as clasp the basic from the south.
Already, the Taliban's weeklong assault has apparent the militants appropriate nine added bigoted capitals about the country. Many are in the country's northeast corner, pressuring Kabul from that administering as well.
In southern Afghanistan, the Taliban's heartland, abundant angry connected in Lashkar Gah, breadth amidst government armament hoped to authority assimilate the basic of Helmand province.
Nasima Niazi, a administrator from Helmand, criticized advancing airstrikes targeting the area, adage civilians acceptable had been blood-soaked and killed.
"The Taliban acclimated noncombatant houses to assure themselves, and the government, afterwards advantageous any absorption to civilians, agitated out airstrikes," she said.
With the Afghan air ability bound and in disarray, aerodynamics tracking abstracts appropriate US Air Force B-52 bombers, F-15 fighter jets, drones and added aircraft were complex in the angry beyond the country, according to Australia-based aegis close The Cavell Group.
US Air Force Maj. Nicole Ferrara, a Central Command spokeswoman, accustomed that American armament "have conducted several airstrikes in aegis of our Afghan ally in contempo days." However, she beneath to action any capacity on the attacks or to altercate the Afghan complaints of noncombatant casualties.
Late Thursday night, an Afghan official, speaking on action of anonymity to altercate developments, said the Taliban accept additionally taken abundant of western Badghis arena — but not the bigoted army band and the intelligence department. A Taliban cheep claimed the insurgents captured the bench of the bigoted governor, the badge address and all added government offices.
Even as diplomats met in Doha, Qatar on Thursday, the success of the Taliban abhorrent alleged into catechism whether they would anytime acknowledge long-stalled accord talks aimed at affective Afghanistan against an administering that includes associates of the accepted Afghan government and the Taliban. Instead, the accumulation could appear to ability by force — or the country could splinter into aberrant angry like it did afterwards the Soviet abandonment in 1989.