Kabul, Aug 15 (EFE).- Three more provincial capitals of Afghanistan — the cities of Jalalabad, Gardiz and Nilli — fell to the Taliban in recent hours without a fight, officials told EFE on Sunday.
“Taliban entered Jalalabad city [this] morning and the province was handed over to them without fighting as a result of mediation of the elders,” a senior government official in Nangarhar told EFE on grounds of anonymity.
He said that the Taliban are now in control of the entire city and its districts, and that some members of the security forces are heading towards Kabul.
Jalalabad is the largest city in eastern Afghanistan and the fifth largest of the 34 provinces of the country.
Nilli, the capital city of the central Daikundi province, also fell to the Taliban without violence late Saturday.
“No fighting took place in Nilli. All security forces and local officials evacuated the city without fighting and Taliban are now in control of the city,” Sherin Mohsini, the representative of Daikundi in the lower house of Parliament, told EFE.
“I am happy that no fighting took place to take the lives of our young men, but I am angry [about] the government (…) handing over the provinces to the Taliban so easily and without resistance,” she said.
“If this was the plan, to hand over the cities to the Taliban, why for the past one year did the government send security forces to fight the Taliban and we lost thousands of security forces?” she asked.
Gardiz, the capital of southeastern Paktia province, was also captured by the Taliban on Saturday evening after security forces left the city without offering any resistance.
“Taliban are now in control of the city and are patrolling in the city,” a lawmaker representing Paktia in parliament’s lower house told EFE.
With the capture of these three provincial capitals, the number of provinces that have fallen to the Taliban in the past 10 days increased to 26.
Currently, the Afghan government is in control of only eight provinces, including the capital of Kabul.
Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed the capture of Jalalabad, Gardiz and Nilli in a series of tweets and said that these cities were now in full control of their fighters. EFE