The insurgents have captured much of northern, western and southern Afghanistan in a breakneck offensive.
Afghan officials reported that the Taliban seized a province just south of Afghanistan’s capital and launched a multi-pronged assault early Saturday on a major city in the north defended by powerful former warlords.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani delivered a televised speech on his first public appearance since the recent Taliban gains, in which he vowed not to give up the “achievements” of the 20 years since the U.S. toppled the Taliban following the 9/11 attacks.
“We have started consultations, inside the government with elders and political leaders, representatives of different levels of the community as well as our international allies,” he said. “Soon the results will be shared with you,” he added, without elaborating further.
According to Munir Ahmad Farhad, a spokesman for the provincial governor, the Taliban also attacked the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif from several directions, setting off heavy fighting on its outskirts. No immediate word was given on casualties.
Source: The Statesman.
“The situation is dangerous outside of the city and inside the city,” Mohibullah Khan said, adding that many residents are also struggling economically.
“The security situation in the city is getting worse,” said Kawa Basharat. “I want peace and stability. The fighting should be stopped.”
Despite hundreds of billions of dollars in U.S. aid over the years, the withdrawal of foreign forces and the swift retreat of Afghanistan’s own troops, has raised fears. The Taliban could return to power or the country could be shattered by factional fighting, as it was after the Soviet withdrawal in 1989.
Meanwhile, the Taliban released a video announcing the takeover of the main radio station in the southern city of Kandahar, renaming it the Voice of Sharia, or Islamic law.