Kabul, July 9 (EFE).- Taliban fighters have captured two Afghan border crossings with Iran and Turkmenistan, officials said Friday, marching ahead with their rapid territorial gains after American troops started pulling out from Afghanistan.
The two transit and trade ports that have fallen to the surging Islamist militia are in western Herat province.
“Islam Qala port collapsed yesterday (Thursday) afternoon and Turghundi port collapsed during the night,” Herat Chamber of Commerce and Investment (ACCI) head Younus Qazizada told EFE.
Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed that militants had gained control of the Islam Qala port.
“Both ports, Islam Qala and Turghundi, are under our control. We have secured them. We are working to turn them back to normal and resume their custom operations by tomorrow,” Mujahid told EFE.
The Islam Qala port and a namesake township are west of Herat. It is the main crossing point on the border with Iran.
Turghundi is located in the north of the province and is the top Afghan trade and crossing point with Turkmenistan.
The two ports represent the main transit routes and customs of Afghanistan.
A significant amount of trade happens through the ports generating massive revenues for the Afghan government.
Qazizada said goods at the ports were safe and unharmed during the collapse of the ports to the Taliban.
He said the customs process was on halt at these two ports.
“We have to wait to see whether custom (officer) will continue their work from tomorrow or not.”
Finance Ministry spokesperson Rafi Tabi said Taliban fighters had captured six transit and trade ports in the past two months of fighting.
The insurgents have gained control of nearly 15 districts of the Herat province that once was among the safest in the war-ravaged country.
Meanwhile, fierce fighting in several provinces continued, particularly in Ghor in the northwest, Kandahar and Zabul in the south, and eastern Laghman provinces.
The defense ministry claimed tens of Taliban fighters were killed and injured in the battle. EFE