republicworld– The Taliban has seized control over three provincial capitals of Afghanistan including the strategic city of Kunduz, reports stated on Sunday. According to a statement given by the Taliban to news agencies, the Kunduz province has been captured by the militancy group which has also claimed control of government buildings in the northern provincial capital of Sar-e-Pul.
In Kunduz, the Taliban has claimed to seize control over key government buildings, barring the airport and the military base which is still in the hands of the Afghan security forces. When it comes to Sar-e Pul, the Taliban has driven out officials out of the main city to the military base nearby, as per Mohammad Noor Rahmani, a provincial council member of Sar-e Pul province. According to government officials, large-scale operations will be launched to take back the key areas.
Taliban gains control of provincial capitals
Over the last week, the Afghan forces have faced numerous setbacks as the insurgents move swiftly to put the North under severe pressure by capturing several provincial capitals. On Friday, the Taliban captured their first provincial capital by taking over the border city of Zaranj in Afghanistan’s southern Nimroz province. This was followed by Sheberghan in Jawzjan, the following day. According to its deputy governor, Zaranj city in Nimroz fell “without a fight”. The authorities have yet to comment on the fall of the provincial capitals.
Herat in the West and Kandahar in the South are some of the recent strategic areas where the Taliban is engaged in a fierce battle with the Afghan security forces. Heavy fighting was reported on the outskirts of Herat, and in the south, Lashkar Gah and Kandahar.
Government forces have been caught off guard by Taliban advances, but they received some relief late Saturday when US airplanes struck Taliban positions in Sheberghan, the Jawzjan province capital taken earlier in the day. Major Nicole Ferrara, a Central Command spokesperson, said that the US troops have conducted a number of airstrikes in recent days in defence of their Afghan partners.