Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
Kabul: President Biden has just sent combat forces back into Afghanistan to evacuate American civilians at the embassy and Afghans who have assisted them in the war effort. U.S. Forces continue to provide security in Kabul, Afghanistan, at Hamid Karzai International Airport and at the U.S. Embassy, Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby told reporters during a briefing on the U.S. mission.
“These are the existing security elements that were already in Kabul,” Kirby explained. “This comprises the [tactical] and lift aviation assets, infantry, security personnel and some intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance assets that are already there at the airport.” There were reports that the first flight landed at the Kabul airport on Saturday morning.
The troop movements that were announced are happening, he said. Three battalions are preparing to move from their locations in the U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility to Kabul: a Marine Corps battalion that was already pre-staged in the region and has lift sustainment and support capabilities and infantry; another Marine Corps infantry battalion from a Marine Expeditionary Unit; and a U.S. Army infantry battalion. “The rest of their forces will continue to flow over the next couple of days. And I expect that by the end of the weekend the bulk of the 3,000 [service members who are deploying] will be in place,” Kirby said.
The brigade combat team from the 82nd Airborne Division that is prepared to go to Kuwait is a Ready Reserve force, which is preparing to deploy, Kirby said, adding that the team would likely arrive in very short order. Aircraft will support moving civilian personnel, he said, adding that U.S. Transportation Command is working on its plans and sourcing solutions with Air Mobility Command and Centcom to support the mission.
The Pentagon also was moving an additional 4,500 to 5,000 troops to bases in the Gulf countries of Qatar and Kuwait, including 1,000 to Qatar to speed up visa processing for Afghan translators and others who fear retribution from the Taliban for their past work with Americans, and their family members. The temporary build-up of troops for U.S. evacuations highlights the stunning pace of the Taliban takeover of much of the country, less than three weeks before the U.S. is set to officially end nearly 20 years of combat in Afghanistan.
“This is a specific, narrowly focused, tailored mission to help with the safe, secure movement of the reduction of civilian personnel in Kabul, as well as to help support the acceleration of the special immigrant visa process by the State Department,” Kirby emphasized.
“The first movement will consist of three infantry battalions that are currently in the Central Command area of responsibility. They will move to Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul within the next 24 to 48 hours. Two of those battalions are United States Marines and one is a U.S. Army battalion. The next movement will consist of a joint U.S. Army-Air Force support element of around 1,000 personnel to facilitate the processing of SIV applicants. Initial elements of this movement — of this element will arrive in Qatar in the coming days. The third movement is to alert and to deploy one infantry brigade combat team out of Fort Bragg to Kuwait, where they will be postured and prepared, if needed, to provide additional security at the airport. We anticipate those forces will reach Kuwait sometime within the next week,” Kirby said.
These forces are being deployed to support the orderly and safe reduction of civilian personnel at the request of the State Department and to help facilitate an accelerated process of working through SIV applicants. This is a temporary mission with a narrow focus.
The UK Government too said that UK troops will provide force protection and logistical support for the relocation of British nationals where required and assist with the acceleration of the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy (ARAP). “This will help to make sure interpreters and other Afghan staff who risked their lives working alongside UK forces in Afghanistan can relocate to the UK as soon as possible.”
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace MP said, “I have authorised the deployment of additional military personnel to support the diplomatic presence in Kabul, assist British nationals to leave the country and support the relocation of former Afghan staff who risked their lives serving alongside us.”
The additional military support announced today will arrive in Kabul over the coming days. A statement reads, “The UK remains committed to Afghanistan and will continue working as part of the international coalition to support the country’s government through our diplomacy, development and counter terrorism work. This year the UK will provide Afghanistan with more than £100 million of support to improve critical health and education services.”
Kabul: A number of former Taliban members are urging current members of the group not to harm civilians, children and women during the war. Sayed Mohammad Akbar Agha, a former member of the Taliban, told a news conference in Kabul on Thursday that casualties and displacement of civilians are a matter of concern and should be prevented.
He also called on the Afghan government to prevent US airstrikes. According to him, as a result of airstrikes, public places and personal property of people are damaged. The former Taliban member also said that at present, trust between the parties involved has been lost and that a third party is needed to build trust between the government and the Taliban.
Mawlavi Qalamuddin Qalam, another former Taliban member, also called on current members of the group to prevent a third war in Afghanistan. Abdul Sattar Murad, a member of the Jamiat-e-Islami party, also told the meeting that the parties to the conflict must agree to an immediate ceasefire. He stressed that there is no other way to achieve peace than dialogue, and that there will be no peace as violence and war escalate.
Violence in Afghanistan has intensified over the past two months. In just the last few days, the centers of Nimroz, Jawzjan, Takhar, Badakhshan, Kunduz, Sar-e Pul, Baghlan, Samangan, Farah and Ghazni have fallen to Taliban fighters.
Even the US Embassy in Kabul condemned the Taliban’s unlawful detention of several members of the Afghan government, including both civilian leaders and officers of the ANDSF. “We urge the immediate release of all Afghan government officials detained by the Taliban. These actions are unacceptable and contradict the Taliban’s claim to support a negotiated settlement in the ongoing Doha peace process. We call on the Taliban to engage in the negotiations that pace the way for inclusive political settlement,” Embassy said.
Meanwhile, Supporting open media in Afghanistan-Nai said on Thursday that the Taliban has been conducting house-to-house searches for journalists after seizing districts and cities. Nai issued a statement saying that the Taliban insurgents are intimidating journalists. Nai called on the Taliban to abide by the commitment of their leaders and not to threaten journalists and media workers. It has also called on the government to provide safe passage for journalists to safe areas to allay their fears and anxieties. Nai said that the Taliban had previously detained a number of journalists.
On the other hand, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday expressed concerns about the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan and said that there is a need for an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire. MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said in a briefing that Indians in Afghanistan have been asked to return through commercial flights. “We will ensure all necessary assistance to Hindus and Sikhs,” Bagchi said on helping minorities. However, he said that there is no formal evacuation mechanism. Bagchi added that India is supporting all peace initiatives taken by Afghanistan. “We continue to hope that there will be an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire in Afghanistan,” he said.
However, the French government has announced on Thursday that France has suspended expelling Afghan migrants whose asylum applications had been rejected, due to the deteriorating security situation in the country as the Taliban offensive approaches Kabul. The French interior ministry said in a statement that the policy had been in place since early July, after similar announcements of the suspension of such expulsions by Germany and the Netherlands.
According to the ministry: “We are watching the situation closely alongside our European partners.” In 2020, Afghans had accounted for the most asylum requests in France, with 8,886 applications. Germany and the Netherlands said on Wednesday they have stopped forced repatriations of Afghan migrants because of deteriorating security in Afghanistan, a sharp change from their previous position.
Afghanistan urged the EU in July to cease forced deportations of Afghan migrants for three months as security forces battle the Taliban offensive ahead of the full US military pullout from Afghanistan on 31 August.
Also, the Poland Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) released a statement, saying, “We urge all the parties to reinvigorate and advance peace talks. Humanitarian access to areas the Taliban control must be granted and respect for human rights, including the rights of women, and democratic achievements must be preserved. We are constantly discussing the developments in Afghanistan with our EU partners and NATO allies.”
In other news, following intensified fights in the northern regions of Afghanistan, Iran has temporarily closed its Consulate General in Mazar-e-Sharif and moved it to Kabul. Iran’s Consulate General in Afghanistan announced the closure on Thursday, saying that the ongoing fights might cause insecurity in Mazar-e-Sharif city where the diplomatic mission was based. The consulate general, however, stressed that it would continue offering services in Kabul for a limited period. As soon as the condition becomes stable, the mission resumes activity in Mazar-e-Sharif.
Kabul: The Kabul municipality said that it has raised 2.340 billion afghanis in revenue over the past six months, 150 million afghanis from tax debts and nine million afghanis from advertising companies’ debts.
Mohammad Fazel Sharifi, Kabul Municipality’s deputy for social and cultural affairs, told a news conference on Thursday that 220,000 square meters of clear land and 41 small parks had been re-taken from encroachers. Sharifi added that 10,200 pavilions, concrete barriers have been removed from 110-kilometer road stretch and sidewalks.
The Deputy Minister of Social and Cultural Affairs of Kabul Municipality stated that in order to maintain and take care of the transport infrastructure, about 200 kilometers of roads have been surveyed and 19,820 meters of sidewalks and roads have been paved.
He also noted that the Kabul Municipality has collected and transferred 225,000 tons of solid waste and 18,000 cubic meters of water from Kabul over the past six months. Sharifi added that 40,000 kilograms of food and non-alcoholic beverages had been collected and destroyed.
Kabul: Mir Rahman Rahmani, Speaker of the House of Representatives, spoke at a consultative meeting in Parwan about preparations for a serious fight against the Taliban, saying that the northern zone would fight against the Taliban as an invincible zone and that the people’s resistance against the Taliban would henceforth, will be formed to fight against Taliban.
Rahmani called on all jihadi leaders and elders in Parwan to respond in a coordinated manner to the Taliban’s attacks and not to allow the group to rise. He warned all Parwan people who had left the province for Kabul that if Parwan fell, Kabul would not survive the aggression.
Emphasizing the serious support of the country’s security and defense forces, the speaker of the House of Representatives said that many have already taken up arms in defense of the system and the security forces. Praising the country’s security and defense forces, Rahmani said that the recent changes in the appointment of Sami Sadat and Haibatullah Alizai as the acting commander-in-chief and special operations commander would change the situation in Afghanistan for the better.
On the other hand, General Mir Asadullah Kohistani, commander of the Bagram Army Division, said at the meeting that the Taliban are no longer able to face the security forces on the battlefield of Parwan and will not be able to capture Parwan. According to him, army forces are stationed in all vulnerable areas of Parwan, and if the Taliban tries to attack, they will face a heavy defeat.
According to him, all soldiers and security forces who have left their duties for various reasons will be recruited in different sections at Bagram Airport by the order of the Minister of National Defense. According to the army commander, Bagram Air Base currently has the capacity to recruit more than 600 people, who will be recruited very easily if the youth of the northern area want it.
However, Aminullah Shakuri, chairman of the Parwan provincial council, assured the people of the province that the people of Charikar are confident that if the Taliban attacked the province, they would face a historic defeat and would never be given a chance to succeed.
In other news, Russia will give its ally Tajikistan $1.1 million to build a new outpost on the Tajik-Afghan border, a senior Russian diplomat was quoted as saying on Thursday, amid growing instability in Afghanistan as US-led troops withdraw. The planned outpost will be located in Tajikistan’s Khatlon province adjacent to Afghanistan’s Kunduz province whose capital city Taliban insurgents took over this week as part of a broader offensive.
The Russian and Tajik governments will soon sign the agreement on aid provision, Interfax quoted Deputy Russian Foreign Minister Oleg Syromolotov as saying. He described the location of the planned facility as one of the most vulnerable points on the Tajik-Afghan border.
Turkey too has taken additional measures on its border with Iran in the face of the increasing number of Afghan nationals who are fleeing the Taliban, the defense minister has said, assuring that the Turkish authorities are exerting great efforts for the border security of the country. “All the necessary measures have been taken on time. We have reviewed our measures on the Iranian border against potential mobility [of refugees] after the recent developments. We have taken additional measures,” Minister Hulusi Akar told Turkish journalists in Islamabad on Aug. 12.
Kabul: The Ministry of Interior announced on Thursday that Mohammad Dawood Laghmani, the governor of Ghazni province, has been detained by the ministry’s internal security forces.
Interior Ministry spokesman Mirwais Stanekzai said that the governor of Ghazni, along with his deputy, head of the office and his entourage, were arrested on Thursday in Maidan Wardak province. A security source, who did not want to be named, told Etilaat roz daily that the men had been detained in Maidan Shahr, the capital of Maidan Wardak province.
On Thursday morning, a reliable source in the Ghazni Police headquarter confirmed that the Taliban had entered Ghazni with the “agreement” of Laghmani and Fazl Ahmad Shirzad, the provincial police commander. He added that the Taliban have now taken control of all parts of Ghazni city.
However, the Ministry of Interior announced that Fazl Ahmad Shirzad was in Ghazni and had not left the province. Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, also said that the group had allowed the governor to travel to Kabul.
On the other hand, Homayoun Shahid Zada, a Farah MP, told Salamwatandar that the second army brigade in the province, which had been under siege by the Taliban for two days, came under Taliban control last night with the surrender of Farah governor Massoud Bakhtawar and the mayor with about 100 security forces and uprising forces.
Shahid Zada said that Abdul Sattar Hossaini, Farah MP, General Abdul Samad Shams, Commander of the 2nd Army Brigade in Farah, Dadullah Ghane, Chairman of the Provincial Council, Chief of Security of the Police with a convoy of about 1,500 security forces and 200 Humvees and light and heavy weapons have retreated to an area outside the city of Farah.
He adds that since last night, the convoy of officials and security forces have the support of the air force. The member of the House of Representatives emphasizes that the convoy is equipped with all the military equipment and can defend itself without air assistance.
According to Shahid Zada, the convoy of security forces and local officials changed their position with all military facilities and equipment under the guidance of central officials. He says that these security forces will soon begin their operations to retake the lost areas of Farah.
This comes even as President Ashraf Ghani met with the Ashura Security Commission. First, the deputy head of the Ashura Security Coordination Commission and a member of the Shiite Ulema Council assured full coordination with the security and defense forces and the people to ensure the security of the Ashura ceremony, and called for the implementation of a security plan to secure western Kabul.
Then, Sarwar Danesh, the second vice-president, said that the current situation in the country is very similar to the situation in Ashura, and that the Taliban are trying to achieve their goal through terror, and authoritarian acts instead of negotiations. Referring to the unity and popular uprisings in the provinces, Sarwar Danesh said that the Shiite community of Afghanistan stands by the security and defense forces in order to protect the system and the republic, and that the movement that has risen against the Taliban is developing like Ashura.
President Ghani said that we are facing a great attack and to stand against it, today is the day of resistance, unity and national solidarity. At the end of his speech, the President expressed his gratitude for the cohesion and coordination of the people to ensure the security of the Ashura ceremony, and issued the necessary instructions to the officials of the security organs to ensure the security of the ceremony.
Kabul: A senior member of the Afghan National Security Council said that the government’s priority is still peace. Javid Faisal, an adviser to the National Security Council, told AFP that the government would continue to defend the people against violence by the Taliban and other terrorist groups.
“Our priority is peace and dialogue for a kind of political coming. But we also have another duty to defend our country and our people against the growing violence of the Taliban and other terrorist groups,” Faisal said.
Faisal also said that al-Qaeda is fighting alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan. The Taliban have denied any links to al-Qaeda in the past. As insecurity rises and the provinces fall to the Taliban, Javed Faisal, an adviser to the Afghan National Security Council, said Afghan forces would soon retake the lost areas.
Meanwhile, a source in the Shaheen Corps in northern Afghanistan told BBC that the air force had bombed Yatim Taq areas in Jowzjan province on Wednesday night and that besieged forces, including Jowzjan governor Hashem and Yar Mohammad Dostum, had been rescued. Meanwhile, heavy fighting broke out on Wednesday night on the Mazar-e-Sharif defense line around Kode Barq area but the Taliban were unable to advance into the city.
The Afghan Ministry of Defense also announced that the air force had launched an operation in defense of security forces in the Dehdadi area of Balkh province and several other areas, killing dozens of Taliban. The Taliban have not yet commented. On Wednesday, Dostum warned that the Taliban would be defeated in northern Afghanistan. He said the Taliban had come north several times and failed.
Also, Mahmoud Shah Rasouli, head of the media department at Herat Police headquarters, said that Jassim Noorzai, an employee of the Herat Customs Department, had a verbal argument with a colleague, which led to a physical fight. He added that as a result of the physical clash, Jassim was first injured and died on the way to Iran. According to him, investigations have begun in this regard.
However, in another development, the Taliban on Wednesday denied targeting and killing civilians during an offensive against Afghan government troops, calling for an independent investigation and seeking to assure Afghans that “no home or family shall face any threat from our side.” The group issued a statement after the United Nations said more than 1,000 civilians had been killed in the past month and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said that since Aug. 1 some 4,042 wounded people had been treated at 15 health facilities.
Taliban spokesperson, Suhail Shaheen, said in a statement that the group “has not targeted any civilians or their homes in any locality, rather the operations have been undertaken with great precision and caution.” He instead blamed Afghan government troops and foreign forces for any civilian deaths. The United States refuted the Taliban’s denial of responsibility. The Taliban proposed that a team made up of the United Nations, ICRC and other aid groups accompany their representatives “to conduct an impartial and independent investigation into the latest events.”
Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on August 11 that he could meet with the leader of the Taliban as part of efforts to end the fighting in Afghanistan. Erdoğan made the remarks as he was speaking in a televised interview with CNN Türk. “Our related institutions are making efforts that could extend as far as some meetings with the Taliban. Maybe even I can be in a position to receive the person who will be their leader,” Erdoğan said.
Erdoğan said that he earlier spoke with the Qatari leader and they discussed “where can we stop the steps taken by the Taliban and where can we take a step towards peace.”
Also, Germany will not provide any financial support to Afghanistan if the Taliban takes over power in the country and introduces Sharia law, its foreign minister told broadcaster ZDF on Thursday. “We provide 430 million euros ($505 million) every year, we will not give another cent if the Taliban takes over the country and introduces Sharia law,” Heiko Maas said.
Kabul: Afghanistan’s government is arming local groups as part of a three-phase plan to push back the Taliban offensive, the Afghan interior minister told Al Jazeera in an interview. Afghanistan Minister of Interior General Abdul Satar Mirzakwal said on Wednesday that Afghan forces are also focusing on trying to secure main highways, large cities, and border crossings after the Taliban seized nine provincial capitals in less than a week.
Mirzakwal, who took charge of the country’s 130,000-strong police force five weeks ago, said the government was supporting local volunteer militias known as “uprising movements”. “We are working in three phases. The first is to stop the defeats [of the government forces], the second is to re-gather our forces to create security rings around the cities,” Mirzakwal said.
“All those soldiers that abandoned their posts, we’re bringing them back to their posts. The third is to begin offensive operations. At the moment, we’re moving into the second phase,” he added. In the last three months, the Taliban has more than doubled the territory it holds and, in the last week, has started to take provincial capitals, seizing nine by Wednesday.
Mirzakwal said a lot of the governments’ defeats were a result of them losing control of roads and highways. Many areas must be resupplied by air and, after the United States began withdrawing its forces, the Afghan government lost a lot of that capability. “Unfortunately, with their withdrawal, the fighting started in 400 areas of the country,” he said. “We have very limited air support, the helicopters have been busy with moving supplies and evacuating our dead and injured forces.” Mirzakwal said the central government is delegating power to local leaders to recruit and arm within their community to fight the Taliban.
“These people have announced their full support to the president and government. They will fight the Taliban along with the government forces,” Mirzakwal said. “There are concerns from the international community about these uprising forces at the moment but all their members will eventually merge into the Afghan National Security Forces.”
“I am asking the Taliban to stop their brutality. Leave killing. Sit down with love and we should find solutions,” Mirzakwal said. “Let’s come and sit together and make a coalition government, one that would be acceptable to all sides. The sooner we do that, the better,” Mirzakwal said.
With rising violence, our neighbors too are concerned as while speaking to his Afghan counterpart, the Turkish president expressed concern about the escalation of violence in Afghanistan. According to the Arg statement, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said during a telephone conversation with President Ashraf Ghani on Wednesday that Turkey is cooperating as much as possible to establish a just peace in Afghanistan. The presidents of Afghanistan and Turkey have spoken out as some provinces fell to the Taliban and fierce attacks continue to seize the capitals of several other provinces.
This comes even as two Turkish officials told Reuters on Wednesday that Turkey is for now still intent on running and guarding Kabul airport after other foreign troops withdraw from Afghanistan, but is monitoring the situation after rapid advances by Taliban insurgents. Turkey has offered to deploy troops at Kabul airport after NATO withdraws and has held talks with the United States for weeks. President Tayyip Erdogan has asked it to meet financial, logistical and diplomatic conditions.
“For now nothing has changed regarding the TAF (Turkish Armed Forces) taking control of Kabul Airport. The talks and the process are continuing,” a senior Turkish official told Reuters. “Work is continuing on the basis that the transfer will happen, but of course the situation in Afghanistan is being followed closely,” he said. The Taliban have warned Turkey against keeping troops in Afghanistan to guard the airport but Ankara has maintained its stance. read more
In comments to foreign media in Islamabad on Wednesday, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said after talks with Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar that efforts would be made to facilitate talks between the Taliban and Ankara. “The best thing is for Turkey and the Taliban to have a face-to-face dialogue. So, both can talk about the reasons why Kabul airport has to be secured,” Khan said. “And so, we will be talking to the Taliban, to use our influence on them, to have a face-to-face talk with Turkey.”
Meanwhile, Secretary of Russia’s Security Council Nikolai Patrushev held a telephone talk with Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran Ali Shamkhani to discuss security interaction and the situation in Afghanistan, the press office of the Russian Security Council reported on Wednesday. “Nikolai Patrushev and Ali Shamkhani discussed the issues of continuing Russian-Iranian security interaction, and also the situation in Afghanistan,” the statement says.
Also, India is set to participate in a meeting of key countries being hosted by Qatar on Thursday to discuss the situation in Afghanistan against the backdrop of the Taliban’s massive offensive that has already resulted in the fall of nine provincial capitals.
People familiar with developments said on condition of anonymity that India will be represented at the meeting in Doha that will also be joined by nations such as Indonesia and Turkey, which is set to take over the security of Bagram airbase. There was no official word on the matter from the external affairs ministry and the people cited above were tight-lipped about the level of India’s participation. The invitation to join the meeting was extended by Mutlaq bin Majed Al-Qahtani, Qatar’s special envoy for counter-terrorism and conflict resolution, when he visited New Delhi last week.
Qatar on Wednesday hosted a meeting of the “extended troika” that was convened by Russia and was joined by the US special envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, and his counterparts from Russia, China and Pakistan. On Tuesday, Qatar had hosted a meeting of representatives from China, the US, the UK, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, the UN and the European Union (EU) to assess the rapidly evolving situation in Afghanistan.
The focus of these meetings is on reviving the stalled Afghan peace process amid the Taliban’s campaign of violence and attacks that has already resulted in the fall of nine provincial capitals in just five days – Sheberghan, Sari Pul, Aybak, Kunduz, Taluqan, Pul-e-Khumri, Farah, Zaranj and Faizabad.
Kabul: Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR), said that the situation in Afghanistan is serious and critical, with potential threats to the country’s health.
Abdullah made the remarks on Wednesday at the extended Troika meeting attended by special envoys from the United States, Russia, China and Pakistan hosted by Qatar in Doha.
The High Council for National Reconciliation in a statement said that Abdullah presented the Afghan government’s plan for overcoming the crisis in the country to the host. The details of this plan have not been made public. Abdullah added that the Taliban had not been serious about peace talks in recent months, meaning that the group did not believe in a political solution.
Abdullah said the Taliban had maintained ties with other groups, including al-Qaeda, and that its attacks on cities are having a negative effect on regional and global peace and stability efforts. “If [the Taliban] want to gain the mutual trust and confidence of the Afghan people, the attack on the cities and the people must be stopped in order to pave the way for a political agreement,” Abdullah said.
Abdullah spoke of the threat to Afghanistan’s health, saying that the Taliban had taken control of at least nine provincial capitals and that fighting is continuing in the capitals of a number of other provinces.
Meanwhile, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has raised with the international community the grave concerns of the Government and people of Afghanistan over the Taliban’s brutal attacks on cities, which have led to war crimes and blatant human rights violations and humanitarian catastrophe in Afghanistan. The Afghan negotiating team headed by Abdullah, echoed the Afghan people and government’s demands at the extended Troika meet.
The chairman of the High Council for Reconciliation called on the international community, especially the Troika meeting member states, to adopt serious measures to prevent Taliban attacks on cities, which have led to war crimes, widespread human rights abuses and humanitarian catastrophe. Abdullah also stressed the need to start meaningful and sincere negotiations to establish an immediate ceasefire and reach a political agreement. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan reiterated that the continuation of the Taliban’s bloody attacks in collusion with regional and international terrorists will not only lead to a humanitarian catastrophe and the protraction of war in Afghanistan, but also exacerbate violent extremism and incite terrorists in the region posing a serious and irreparable threat to the collective security of the region and the world.
This comes even as a Reuters report quoting a US defense official said that Taliban fighters could isolate Afghanistan’s capital in 30 days and possibly take it over in 90. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the new assessment of how long Kabul could stand was a result of the rapid gains the Taliban had been making around the country.
The loss of Faizabad, capital of the northeastern province of Badakhshan, was the latest setback for the Afghan government, which has been struggling to stem the momentum of Taliban assaults as US-led foreign forces leave. It came as President Ashraf Ghani flew in to Mazar-e-Sharif to rally old warlords to the defense of the biggest city in the north as Taliban forces close in.
U.S. President Joe Biden urged Afghan leaders to fight for their homeland, saying on Tuesday he did not regret his decision to withdraw, noting that the United States had spent more than $1 trillion over 20 years and lost thousands of troops. The United States was providing significant air support, food, equipment and salaries to Afghan forces, he said.
Kabul: Local officials in Badghis province said that a 25-day ceasefire between the Afghan government and the Taliban has ended with the resumption of Taliban attacks.
Badghis Governor Hessam ul-Din Shams told Etilaat roz daily that the Taliban had resumed their attacks on security belts in Qala-e-Naw, the capital of the province, on Wednesday evening. Shams added that heavy fighting between government forces and the Taliban had continued until 3:00 am on Thursday morning.
According to him, the Taliban planned to attack Qala-e-Naw from three directions, but the attacks were repulsed by government forces. But the Taliban claim to have taken control of parts of Qala-e-Naw, including the PD5.
The Badghis provincial media office said that a ceasefire between the government and the Taliban has been violated by Taliban attacks on Qala-e-Naw, the provincial capital. Badghis Governor Hesamuddin Shams wrote on his official Facebook page that the Taliban had attacked parts of Qala-e-Naw by breaking ceasefire, but that their attacks had been repulsed by security forces.
He added, “The city of Qala-e-Naw is invincible. On behalf of the leadership of the Badghis Coordination Council, I assure you that we will teach the enemy a historical lesson.”
Previously, the government and the Taliban established ceasefire to the Eid al-Adha with the mediation of the Badghis tribal elders. Earlier, the Taliban entered the city of Qala-e-Naw and for several hours took control of the police headquarters, the National Directorate of Security, the central prison and several government offices in the province. Currently, six districts of Badghis are under the control of the Taliban, and the government controls the city of Qala-e-Naw and part of the Herat-Qala-e-Naw highway.
Meanwhile, local officials in Herat province said that the Taliban attack on Herat city has been repulsed. Abdul Sabur Qane, governor of Herat, said that on Wednesday night, Taliban fighters attacked the city of Herat from four directions, facing resistance from defense and security forces.
According to him, the defense and security forces were able to repel the attack of Taliban fighters after several hours of fighting. Qane did not comment on casualties among government forces and Taliban fighters during the clashes. Clashes between security forces and Taliban fighters have continued in the city and districts of Herat province in recent weeks.
Also, local sources in Ghazni province said that the Taliban have attacked the center of Ghazni from several directions and clashes are currently taking place around the provincial building and the National Directorate of Security. Nasir Ahmad Faqiri, chairman of the Ghazni Provincial Council, told Hashte Subh daily that the Taliban had attacked Ghazni province from several directions on Wednesday night.
According to him, the Taliban have reached the city center and now the war is going on around the National Security Directorate.