On Friday, three major cities of Afghanistan i.e., Kandahar, Herat and Lashkar Gah were confirmed to have fallen to the Taliban. The seizing of Kandahar, the second biggest city of Afghanistan, is likely to cause a major blow to Afghan government forces.
According to the witnesses, Taliban seized the governor’s office as well as other buildings. It has taken control of atleast 11 of Afghanistan’s 34 provincial capitals in the last week. Herat, third largest city of Afghanistan and Ghazni, which is about 130km away from the national capital, Kabul; were also taken over.
By seizing Lashkar Gah and Kandahar in the southern part and Herat, a vital economic and cultural hub; the insurgents are preparing for a complete military takeover. Only three major cities, including Kabul are under the control of government, with one of them under siege by Taliban. They have advanced to topple the city in a way that has well positioned them to attack Kabul.
According to some American officials, Afghanistan will implode within a month. Therefore, they are planning to evacuate the US embassy in Kabul. The insurgents now control over half of the country’s 400 districts; with heavy battles raging for weeks, including the one in Lashkar Gah and Kandahar.
Control over Kandahar is believed to be the biggest challenge for Afghanistan government. It was the birthplace of insurgency in 1990s and is a great economic hub. By gaining control over the place, Taliban can easily return to power, if not complete control.
The Taliban opened fire in the air to celebrate. They burnt down the compounds and houses, the residents mentioned. They also said that the forces left all the areas before the insurgents entered. Now they stand in government offices and other official squares.
In response to Taliban advances, the Pentagon mentioned that it would send around 3000 extra troops to evacuate US embassy staff within 48 hours. Britain, on the other hand, would deploy 600 troops in order to help its citizens.
Taliban has now controlled Southern Afghanistan as well as country’s entire western border. They have seized nearly all of Northern Afghanistan, posing a serious strategic setback to the government. Trapped between the street fights and airstrikes, are the thousands of displaced people, who have now flocked to Kabul, one of the last cities under government control.