The Taliban seized Afghanistan’s third most populous city and the United States will evacuate its embassy

The Taliban seized Afghanistan’s third city, Herat, on Thursday, continuing with a fierce offensive against which The United States announced the dispatch of three thousand soldiers to evacuate its diplomatic personnel. At dawn this Friday, the insurgents also claimed the conquest of the strategic city of Kandahar, which this would leave the government in control of the capital Kabul and a handful of other territories. Given the rapid and worrying territorial advance, Afghanistan has offered to share power with the Taliban.

sending troops

In just a week, the Taliban took control of 12 of the 34 Afghan provincial capitals. and they surrounded the largest city in the north, Mazar-i-Sharif. As a sign of disaster, The United States and the United Kingdom have announced the dispatch of soldiers to quickly evacuate their diplomatic personnel in Kabul.

The Pentagon has indicated that 3,000 soldiers will be deployed to the Afghan capital in the next 24 to 48 hours, insisting they will not attack the Taliban. “We will reduce our civilian presence in Kabul in light of the evolving security situation”said the spokesman for US diplomacy, Ned price. “This is not an abandonment, it is not a total evacuation, it is not a withdrawal, it is a reduction in our civilian personnel”, explained the official.

for your part The UK Ministry of Defense has announced the deployment of 600 troops to Afghanistan to help British citizens leave that country in the face of “rapidly deteriorating security” and the increase in violence. The troops will remain in Afghanistan for a “short period” of time, Defense said in a statement, while the British embassy in Kabul has sped up work to deliver visas to workers linked to the delegation.

fall of herat

A large city in western Afghanistan near the Iranian border, Herat fell under Taliban control on Thursday. “We had to leave the city to avoid further destruction,” a security source told AFP, explaining that they had withdrawn to a nearby military base. The Taliban “raised their flags throughout the city”, He said Masoom Jan, a resident. “We are very scared, it took us by surprise, we couldn’t even leave the city,” he added.

at dawn on friday the Taliban also claimed to have taken Kandahar, the second largest city in Afghanistan. A resident confirmed the capture to AFP agency, noting that government forces withdrew en masse to a military installation on the outskirts of the city. On Wednesday, the Taliban claimed they had taken control of the prison, releasing hundreds of prisoners.

shared strength

As part of negotiations to stop the insurgents’ rapid advance, the Afghan government proposed to the Taliban to share power. The president of the Higher Council for National Reconciliation of Afghanistan, Abdullah Abdullah, who has been in Doha since Wednesday to participate in international meetings on the country’s future, was in charge of presenting the plan to Qatar’s mediators.

The government has proposed to the “Taliban a distribution of power in exchange for an end to violence,” said one of its negotiators in Doha., where peace talks between the government and insurgents, which began in September 2020, continue. The UN and countries such as Uzbekistan, Germany and the United Kingdom, the parties called for an “immediate cessation of violence and hostilities” and reiterated that they will not make it recognize any regime that is forcibly installed in Afghanistan.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has so far rejected the idea of ​​a government that includes the Taliban. Y the insurgents, who once welcomed the idea, may reject it, as their offensive has been advancing at a dizzying pace in recent days.

The clashes have a terrible impact on the civilian population. In one month, at least 183 civilians, including children, have been killed in Lashkar Gah, Kandahar, Herat and Kunduz, and about 360,000 people have fled their homes since early 2021, according to the UN.. Many civilians have arrived in Kabul in recent days, where, still traumatized by the atrocities committed by the Taliban before their eyes, they are trying to survive in refugee camps.

International troops will complete their exit from Afghanistan later this month, twenty years after the start of their intervention to drive the Taliban out of power following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. The US military has not hidden its frustration over the weakness of the Afghan army in recent days., which the United States has formed, financed, and equipped for years.


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