Taliban invade seventh and eighth Afghan provincial capitals

Witnesses and analysts said that over the past week, the Taliban have been able to turn every northern victory into an opportunity to sen...

Witnesses and analysts said that over the past week, the Taliban have been able to turn every northern victory into an opportunity to send more forces to other critical battles. This raises the alarming possibility that a consolidation of the Taliban’s force in the north could facilitate the diversion of their offensive towards Kabul.

In western Afghanistan, Farah has been a focal point of Taliban offensive operations for years. In recent weeks, a stronger push by insurgents has taken its toll, officials said. But there were different reports on whether government forces were still fighting to retake the seized parts of the city on Tuesday.

Gulbuddin, a police officer in the town of Farah who, like many Afghans, has a name, said government officials fled to an army headquarters several kilometers from the town and the prison principal had been raped by Taliban fighters. The streets, he said, were full of released detainees.

Several residents of Farah, contacted by phone, said there was little or no shooting in their neighborhoods in the town on Tuesday afternoon. Ahmad Zubair, who lives in the city, said he had not heard or seen any signs of fighting.

“The Taliban are marching in our neighborhood,” he said.

Belqis Roshan, Member of Parliament from Farah Province, said the governor’s office and police headquarters were seized, but fighting continued near the airport in the east of the city. And Masood Bakhtawar, the provincial governor of Farah, denied that the town had been completely taken by insurgents and said the fighting was continuing.

Hasib Siddiqi, a resident of Farah town, said his neighbors had fled the town in recent days.

“We have been deceived by government assurances,” he said. “They said the city would not collapse and that they had brought helicopters and planes and they would defend the city.”

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Newsrust - US Top News: Taliban invade seventh and eighth Afghan provincial capitals
Taliban invade seventh and eighth Afghan provincial capitals
Newsrust - US Top News
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