The Afghan President said remobilization of the armed forces is the top priority of the government. In his address to the people of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani said his focus is on preventing further instability and violence.
The Afghan President also added that remobilization of the armed forces was the top priority, even as the Taliban seized a province south of Afghanistan’s capital and launched a multi-pronged assault early Saturday.
“As your president, my focus is on preventing further instability, violence, and displacement of my people,” Ghani said in the brief televised address.
Contrary to reports, the Afghan President did not announce or give any hints regarding his resignation, which has been one of the demands of the Taliban.
Ashraf Ghani’s last public appearance was on Wednesday in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif, where the insurgents launched a multi-pronged attack early Saturday.
The Taliban have captured much of northern, western, and southern Afghanistan, and are now battling government forces just 11 kilometers (7 miles) south of the capital, Kabul.
The lightning advance comes less than three weeks before the US is set to withdraw its last forces after nearly 20 years of war.
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The Taliban, meanwhile, pushed closer to Kabul on Saturday, capturing a key city near Afghanistan’s capital as American troops flew in to help evacuate embassy personnel and other civilians.
Continuing a rapid advance, the insurgents took Pul-e-Alam, around 70 km (40 miles) from Kabul and the capital of Logar province, a local provincial council member said. The Taliban did not face much resistance, he told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
The gain of the city, a key staging post for a potential assault on Kabul, comes a day after the insurgents took the country’s second-and third-biggest city.
The insurgents have captured much of northern, western, and southern Afghanistan in a breakneck offensive less than three weeks before the United States is set to withdraw its last troops, raising fears of a full militant takeover or another Afghan civil war.
Several nations are sending troops as resistance from Afghan government forces crumbles and fears grow that an assault on Kabul could be just days away.
An Afghan government official confirmed on Friday that Kandahar, the economic hub of the south, was under Taliban control as US-led international forces complete their withdrawal after 20 years of war.
Herat in the west, near the border with Iran, also fell to the hardline Islamist group. Kandahar’s loss was a heavy blow to the government.