Taliban Captures Three More Afghan Provincial Capitals in One Day
By Staff, Agencies
The Taliban terrorist group captured three more provincial capitals in Afghanistan, as they take their fight to the cities after seizing much of the countryside in recent months.
The terrorist group has seized five provincial capitals in Afghanistan since Friday in a lightning offensive that appears to have overwhelmed government forces.
Kunduz, Sar-e-Pol and Taloqan in the north fell within hours of each other on Sunday, the Taliban and officials in the cities confirmed.
A Taliban statement on Sunday said it has captured the police headquarters, the governor’s compound and the prison in the strategic northeastern city of Kunduz.
Al-Jazeera cited Local sources and journalists in Kunduz who confirmed that Taliban members are present in the capital.
Health officials in Kunduz said 14 bodies, including those of women and children, and more than 30 injured people have been taken to hospital.
“We don’t know what’s going on outside because all our efforts and attention is on the patients coming in,” a doctor from a Kunduz hospital said.
In a statement on Sunday, the Taliban said its fighters have also captured the city of Sar-e-Pol, the main city of the northern province of Sar-e-Pol.
On Sunday evening, the Taliban said on Twitter that it had taken Taloqan, the capital of Takhar province.
Sunday’s takeovers come after the group seized the provinces of Nimruz and Jawzjan in the last two days.
Kunduz had previously fallen to the group in 2015 and 2016.
On Saturday, the Taliban captured Jawzjan capital Sheberghan, the city’s deputy governor said, a day after Zaranj, capital of Nimruz, fell “without a fight”, according to its deputy governor.
People in Kunduz tried to flee before the Taliban’s arrival, a resident told Al Jazeera, and are still afraid of going outside their houses.
Though the Taliban has taken two provincial capitals since Friday, Kunduz – in the far north – would be the most significant to fall since the terrorist group launched an offensive in May as foreign forces began the final stages of their withdrawal from the country.
The Taliban has controlled vast parts of rural Afghanistan since launching a series of offensives in May.
Intense fighting continued in the capitals of the southern Kandahar and Helmand provinces, which the Taliban has been trying to take over for several weeks now.
On Sunday, a Helmand provincial council member said government air attacks damaged a health clinic and high school in Lashkar Gah, the capital.