Only three major Afghanistan cities, – Jalalabad, Mazar-i-Sharif and the country’s capital, Kabul continue to be under the control of the Afghan government.
By Maryam Razzaq
The Taliban have been steadily taking control over more provincial capitals in Afghanistan. On Friday, it has been confirmed that they have taken over more provincial capitals across the nation, including Qalat, Terenkot, Pul-e-Alan, Feruz Koh, Qal-e-Naw and Lashkar Gah. The update comes only hours after the armed group captured the cities of Herat and Kandahar. Thus far, it is being said that they have control over 18 provincial capitals across Afghanistan.
On Friday morning, the Taliban forces seized Lashkar Gah, capital of the Helmand province after a week-long battle with Afghan soldiers that left many innocent civilians caught in the crossfire. The Afghan people remain uncertain of what the future will look like for them under the violent reign of the Taliban. The country’s second largest city, Kandahar and Herat, a cultural hub known for its textiles and trading routes were also captured.
Currently, there are only three major Afghan cities, – Jalalabad, Mazar-i-Sharif and the country’s capital, Kabul that continue to be under the control of the Afghan government. With the Taliban reigning over southern Afghan, a sense of deep fear and panic has enveloped the innocent civilians who will suffer as a direct consequence under the radical leadership of the Taliban.
One of the key provincial capitals on the route to the country capital, Kabul – the city of Ghazni has also fell to the tyranny of the Taliban on Thursday. Ghazni is roughly 93 miles (150 kilometres) south of Kabul. The Taliban have been able to successfully capture areas to the north with the capture of the Baghlan province to the north. According to U.S. officials, this positioning allows them to be in control of both key location to the north and south of Kabul.
Pentagon spokesperson, John Kirby shared on Wednesday that he would not be discussing intelligence related assessments with regards to Afghanistan.
“We continue to monitor the situation in Afghanistan closely. We are mindful of the deteriorating security situation, and our focus right now remains on supporting the Afghan forces in the field where and when feasible we can from the air, as well as completing our drawdown in a safe and orderly way,” stated Kirby.
Pakistan has announced that they will be offering Pakistani visas to journalists working for international outlets in Afghanistan if they wish to leave the country. The Federal Minister for Interior for Pakistan, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed shared the offer on his official Twitter account.
“In view of the changing situation in Afghanistan, the Government of Pakistan has decided to relax the visa policy for journalists and media workers stranded in Afghanistan. The Interior Ministry will issue visas to these international journalists and workers on a priority basis,” tweeted Ahmed.
The Prime Minster of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson has denied the use of a combat solution to the growing danger in Afghanistan and has shared that the UK will send 600 troops to help evacuate British nations and former Afghan staff.
“I think we’ve got to be realistic about the abilities of the UK or any power to impose a military solution, a combat solution in Afghanistan. What we certainly can do is work with all our partners in the region and around the world who share an interest with us in preventing Afghanistan from once again becoming a breeding ground for terror,” said UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.
As the Taliban take control of major cities in Afghanistan at a shocking speed, the Biden administration has deployed 3,000 U.S. troops, with another 5,000 troops on stand-by in Kuwait and Qatar to help effectively evacuate the Americans in the nation.
Canada special forces will be deployed to Afghanistan to evacuate Canadian embassy staff in the country’s capital, Kabul.
Norway, Denmark, and Switzerland will be evacuating their embassies and France has called for all its nationals to immediately return.