Taliban capture Afghan city of Kandahar amid NATO withdrawal

Number of provincial centers lost to Taliban rises to 12

KABUL (AA) – The Taliban captured Afghanistan’s second largest city of Kandahar late Thursday, according to officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Kandahar became the 12th provincial capital to be partly or completely overrun by the insurgents after Ghazni, Herat, Fayzabad, Aybak, Qala-e-Nau, Lashkargah, Zaranj, Sheberghan, Kunduz, Taluqan and Sar-e-Pul.

Earlier Thursday, the Taliban claimed to have captured the strategically important city of Ghazni in central Afghanistan and the country’s third largest western city of Herat.

Located only around 150 kilometers (93 miles) from Kabul, Ghazni connects southern and western Afghanistan with the capital city.

On Wednesday, advancing Taliban insurgents said they had captured Fayzabad city, the center of northern Badakhshan province, next to Tajikistan.

Seemingly undeterred by the heavy death toll that Afghan forces claimed to have inflicted on them, the Taliban continued their advances on urban centers after capturing nearly 200 rural districts.

After taking over nearly 200 rural districts last month amid the withdrawal of NATO forces, the Taliban launched assaults on major cities, causing panic and anxiety among millions of civilians.


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