© Reuters. Tanks arrive at battlefield, in Kunduz, Afghanistan July 7, 2021 on this nonetheless picture taken from a video. REUTERS TV through REUTERS
KABUL (Reuters) -The US mentioned it was as much as Afghan safety forces to defend the nation after Taliban militants captured a sixth provincial capital on Monday, together with border cities and commerce routes.
President Joe Biden has mentioned the U.S. army mission in Afghanistan will finish on Aug. 31, arguing that the Afghan folks should determine their very own future and that he wouldn’t consign one other era of People to the 20-year battle.
The Taliban, combating to reimpose strict Islamic regulation after their 2001 ouster, have stepped up their marketing campaign to defeat the federal government as overseas forces withdraw.
On Monday, they took Aybak, capital of the northern province of Samangan.
“Proper now the Taliban are combating with Afghan forces to seize the police headquarters and compound of the provincial governor,” mentioned Ziauddin Zia, a lawmaker in Aybak.
“A number of elements of the capital have fallen to the Taliban.”
The insurgents took three provincial capitals over the weekend – Zaranj within the southern province of Nimroz, Sar-e-Pul, within the northern province of the identical identify, and Taloqan, in northeastern Takhar province.
They’d already taken the northern provincial capital of Kunduz and Lashkar Gah, capital of Helmand province.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby (NYSE:) mentioned the USA was deeply involved concerning the development however that Afghan safety forces had the aptitude to battle the rebel group.
“These are their army forces, these are their provincial capitals, their folks to defend and it is actually going to come back all the way down to the management that they are prepared to exude right here at this explicit second,” Kirby mentioned.
Requested what the U.S. army can do if the Afghan safety forces aren’t placing up a battle, Kirby mentioned: “Not a lot.”
U.S. officers, talking on situation of anonymity, mentioned that whereas the army had warned Biden earlier this yr that provincial capitals would fall with a withdrawal of troops, they have been nonetheless shocked at how rapidly a few of them have been being taken by the Taliban.
The US carried out lower than a dozen strikes over the weekend because the Taliban overran the provincial capitals, in a single occasion merely destroying gear.
One official mentioned the Afghan forces didn’t ask for any assist as Kunduz was being overtaken.
The Taliban positive factors have sparked recriminations over the withdrawal of overseas forces. British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace advised the Day by day Mail that the accord struck final yr between the USA and the Taliban was a “rotten deal”.
Washington agreed to withdraw in a deal negotiated final yr underneath Biden’s Republican predecessor, Donald Trump.
Wallace mentioned his authorities had requested some NATO allies to maintain their troops in Afghanistan as soon as the U.S. troops departed, however did not garner sufficient assist.
“Some mentioned they have been eager, however their parliaments weren’t. It grew to become obvious fairly rapidly that with out the USA because the framework nation it had been, these choices have been closed off,” Wallace mentioned.
Germany’s defence minister rejected requires its troopers to return to Afghanistan after Taliban insurgents took Kunduz the place German troops have been deployed for a decade.
Afghan commandoes had launched a counterattack to attempt to beat again Taliban fighters who overran Kunduz, with residents fleeing the battle describing the virtually fixed sound of gunfire and explosions.
Within the west, close to the border with Iran, safety officers mentioned heavy combating was underneath manner on the outskirts of Herat. Arif Jalali, head of Herat Zonal Hospital, mentioned 36 folks had been killed and 220 wounded over the previous 11 days. Greater than half of the wounded have been civilians, and ladies and youngsters have been among the many useless.
UNICEF mentioned 20 kids have been killed and 130 kids had been injured in southern Kandahar province prior to now 72 hours.
“The atrocities develop larger by the day,” mentioned Hervé Ludovic De Lys, UNICEF’s consultant in Afghanistan.
In Helmand, a hotbed of Taliban exercise, safety officers reported a loud explosion in Lashkar Gah on Monday morning.
In Kunduz, many determined households, some with younger kids and pregnant girls, deserted their properties, hoping to succeed in the relative security of Kabul, 315 km (200 miles) to the south – a drive that may usually take round 10 hours.
Ghulam Rasool, an engineer, was making an attempt to rent a bus to get his household to the capital because the sound of gunfire reverberated by means of the streets of his hometown.
“We could be compelled to stroll until Kabul, however we aren’t positive if we may very well be killed on the best way. … Floor clashes weren’t simply stopping even for 10 minutes,” Rasool advised Reuters.
He and a number of other different residents, and a safety official, mentioned Afghan commandoes had launched an operation to clear the insurgents from Kunduz.
In Kabul itself, suspected Taliban fighters killed an Afghan radio station supervisor, authorities officers mentioned, the most recent in an extended line of assaults concentrating on media employees.
1000’s have been making an attempt to enter Kabul, even after the town has witnessed assaults in diplomatic districts.
Chatting with Al Jazeera TV on Sunday, Taliban spokesman Muhammad Naeem Wardak warned the USA towards additional intervention to assist authorities forces.