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Provincial Capitals in Afghanistan Continue To Fall to the Taliban

Aug. 12, 2021 (EIRNS)—As of midday today, the capitals of 9 of the 34 provinces in Afghanistan are reported to be under the control of the Taliban. Ghazni, the capital of Ghazni province, was taken early today. Ghazni lies on the highway between Kandahar and Kabul.

According to media accounts, the Taliban also claim to have captured provincial headquarters in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province. All gateways to Kabul, which lies on a plain surrounded by mountains, were choked with civilians fleeing violence, a Western security source said, adding that there was a risk that Taliban fighters could be among them.

The Taliban also captured the airport outside Kunduz in northern Afghanistan yesterday, where the Afghan army’s 217th Corps headquarters was located. The corps is one of seven across the army, and its loss represents a major setback, reported The Associated Press. It wasn’t immediately clear what equipment was left behind for the insurgents, though a Taliban video showed them parading in Humvees and pickup trucks.

An unnamed senior EU official told reporters yesterday that the Taliban insurgents now hold some 230 districts of the other 400 in Afghanistan. The official described another 65 in government control, while the rest were contested. In addition to the northeast, much of northern Afghanistan has also fallen to the Taliban, except for Balkh province. There, warlords Abdul Rashid Dostum, Atta Mohammad Noor, and Mohammad Mohaqiq planned to mobilize forces in support of the Afghan government to push back the Taliban, following a meeting yesterday with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in Mazar-e-Sharif.

Kabul-based TOLOnews reports that widespread fighting continues in the north, in Jawzjan and Balkh provinces, and in the south and west, in Kandahar, Helmand, and Herat provinces and other places.

Yesterday, Ghani fired the Afghan army chief, Gen. Wali Mohammad Ahmadzai, and replaced him with Gen. Hebatullah Alizai, who had been commander of the Special Operations Corps, which has been considered more effective than the regular army.

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