Conflicts & War

Taliban seize capitals of five Afghan provinces in a week

Kabul, Aug 8 (EFE).- Taliban fighters on Sunday captured the capitals of three Afghan provinces, bringing to five the number of regional centers seized by the insurgents this past week, their greatest advance in 20 years of war.

The insurgents had gained control of the capitals of northern Kunduz, Sar-e-Pol and Takhar provinces after days of fierce fighting with government forces.

“After a month-and-a-half of resistance on the outskirts of the city, and as the fight intensified today with the Taliban fighting street by street, (…) it was decided to evacuate (Taloqan),” Ashraf Uddin Ainin, a lawmaker from Takhar in Parliament told EFE.

“The city has now fallen under (the control of) the Taliban,” he added.

Earlier in the day, security forces retreated from Kunduz city and have now gathered around the airport.

The Taliban blew up an outer wall at the Kunduz prison and released all prisoners, including jailed insurgents.

The militants took over the Governor House, police headquarters, and other government buildings, federal lawmaker Nelofar Koofi from the Kunduz province told EFE.

Malik, a Kunduz resident, told EFE that the city was in a complete mess and heavy fighting was under way.

“A clothing and blanket market caught fire,” he said.

The Afghan army, however, said elite commando forces had launched an anti-Taliban operation in the city.

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