Taliban push deep into Afghanistan's holdout Panjshir Valley

Taliban take control of 6th Afghan provincial capital as US troops withdraw

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Kabul: A congressman stated that the Taliban had taken control of the sixth provincial capital of Afghanistan on Monday after the US-led foreign troops withdrew from the Afghan security forces.

The Taliban struggled to re-implement their rule after being overthrown in 2001, and as foreign troops withdrew after the 20-year war, they intensified their campaign to defeat the government.

On Monday, they occupied Ibak, the capital of the northern province of Samangan.

“Right now the Taliban are fighting with Afghan forces to capture the police headquarters and compound of the provincial governor,” said Ziauddin Zia, a lawmaker in Aybak. “Several parts of the capital have fallen to the Taliban.”

The Taliban took three provincial capitals over the weekend — Zaranj, the capital of the southern province of Nimroz, Sar-e-Pul, the capital of the northern province of the same name, and Taloqan, the capital of northeastern Takhar province.

They have occupied Kunduz, the capital of the northern province, and Lashkar Gah, the capital of the southwestern province of Helmand.

The Taliban’s victory triggered accusations of the withdrawal of foreign troops. British Defense Minister Ben Wallace told the Daily Mail that the agreement reached between the United States and the Taliban last year was a “bad agreement.”

Wallace said that his government had asked some NATO allies to keep their troops in Afghanistan after the U.S. withdrawal, but failed to obtain sufficient support.

“Some said they were keen, but their parliaments weren’t. It became apparent pretty quickly that without the United States as the framework nation it had been, these options were closed off,” Wallace said.

Germany’s defence minister rejected calls for its soldiers to return to Afghanistan after the Taliban took Kunduz where German troops were deployed for a decade.

Afghan commandoes had launched a counter-attack to try to beat back Taliban fighters who overran Kunduz, with residents fleeing the conflict describing the almost constant sound of gunfire and explosions.

A Taliban spokesperson warned the United States on Sunday not to intervene after the US air strikes to support the troubled Afghan government forces. The United States has vowed to withdraw most of its troops by the end of this month, ending its longest war.

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