Taliban insurgents have captured 18 out of 34 provinces in Afghanistan. Even though they are a few hours away from Kabul, the Afghan government on Friday said they stand firm and have full faith in their security forces.
Taliban have seized Afghanistan’s second- and third-biggest cities as resistance from government forces failed, stoking fears that an assault on the capital Kabul could be just days away. With every passing day, the important cities of Afghanistan have been falling into the hands of Taliban.
A government official confirmed that Kandahar, the economic hub of the south, is now under Taliban control.
HERE ARE FIVE KEY DEVELOPMENTS
1) Taking control of 18 out of 34 provinces: Afghanistan has 34 provinces in total, with Taliban now controlling an estimated 65 percent of the country’s territory. In total, Afghanistan has 34 provinces. Out of them, 18 have fallen, which means Taliban now control roughly 65 per cent of the entire nation’s territory.
The provinces that have fallen are, Zaranj (August 6), Sheberghan (August 7), Sar-e-Pul (August 8), Kunduz (August 8), Taluqan (August 8), Aybak (August 9), Farah (August 10), Pul-e-Khumri (August 10), Faizabad (August 11), Ghazni (August 12), Herat (August 12), Kandahar (August 12), Lashkar Gah (August 13), Qala-e Naw (August 13), Feruz Koh (August 13), Pul-e Alam (August 13), Terakot (August 13), Qalat (August 13).
2) President Ashraf Ghani likely to address the nation: With pressure mounting on Afghan government and forces as Taliban close in, there are reports that the President of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani, may address the nation. The Taliban and Pakistan, however, demand his resignation.
Sources said that the Ashraf Ghani, is likely to address the country on Saturday to inform them about the fate of its government. The meeting will most likely be about how the transition might take place. Late on Friday, the government, however, confirmed that it stands and has full faith on its defence forces.
3) We stand firm, says Afghan government: Afghan First Vice President Amrullah Saleh said he was proud of the country’s armed forces.
“It was decided with conviction & resolve that WE STAND FIRM AGAINST TALIBAN TERRORISTS & DO EVERYTHING TO STRENGTHEN THE NATIONAL RESISTANCE BY ALL MEANS AND WAYS. PERIOD,” he tweeted after a national security meeting chaired by President Ashraf Ghani. The fighting has raised fears of a refugee crisis and a rollback of gains in human rights since the Taliban were ousted.
4) NATO envoys meet on Taliban blitz in Afghanistan: NATO envoys were meeting Friday in Brussels to discuss developments in Afghanistan amid a rapidly deteriorating security situation in the wake of the relentless Taliban offensive there. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and 30 national ambassadors were taking part in the meeting in Brussels, according to a NATO official who spoke on condition of anonymity, in line with regulations.
“Allies are constantly consulting on the situation on Afghanistan,” the official said, adding that Stoltenberg was “in regular contact with allies and the Afghan authorities.” “NATO is monitoring the security situation very closely. We continue to coordinate with the Afghan authorities and the rest of the international community,” the official said.
5) US rushes troops to speed up evacuation: Rapid Taliban conquests across Afghanistan led the Biden administration on Friday to rush 3,000 fresh troops to the Kabul airport to help with a partial evacuation of the US Embassy in the capital and send thousands more to the region, to be on standby and speed airlifts for Afghans who worked with the American military. The temporary buildup of troops for US evacuations highlights the stunning pace of the Taliban takeover of much of the country. The Taliban completed their sweep of the country’s south on Friday as they took four more provincial capitals in a lightning offensive that is gradually encircling Kabul, just weeks before the US is set to officially end its two-decade war.