The first two provincial capitals came under the Taliban’s control.
On August 6, the first reports came about the Taliban taking control over the city of Zaranj in Afghanistan’s western Nimruz province. It became the first provincial capital the group has taken from the Afghan government.
According to the reports from the area, the Taliban have taken control of the airport as well as key government buildings, including the provincial governor’s compound. Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, a spokesman for the Taliban, also said they have taken control of the provincial intelligence headquarters.
On August 6, the Taliban released prisoners from the jail in Zaranj.
Taliban fighters entered the city in Humvees vehicles taken from the Afghan forces paid by the U.S. and NATO countries. They’re now used to patrol the streets of Zaranj.
#Afganistan: As the #Zaranj the provincial capital on the border with Iran has fallen to the Taliban without a single shot being fired. Heavy American equipment worth millions of dollars ( bought by Us tax payers money ) moving towards the border – this time with Taliban flags 🤷 pic.twitter.com/oGAucfkjJt
— Dr Tariq Tramboo (@tariqtramboo) August 7, 2021
At the moment when the Taliban was entering the city, the Afghanistan Army was forced to retreat to Iran.
A spokesperson for Nimruz’s police claimed that the Taliban had captured the city because of a lack of reinforcements from the government. The military reinforcement has been recently sent to other provinces, Herat and Kandahar, where clashes for the largest Afghanistan’s cities continue.
Zaranj has a population of more than 63,000 inhabitants and it is of a strategic importance because of its location on the border with Iran and Pakistan. Being one of the centers of licit and illicit trades, Nimruz province will provide the Taliban with another important source of revenue.
The second provincial capital taken by the Taliban is the city of Sheberghan in northern Jawzjan province that fell under the Taliban’s control on August 7th, following the heavy clashes.
The Taliban spokesperson claimed that Sherbarghan was liberated by Mujahidin amid AlFath operations; governor office, police HQ, intelligence HQ and all related buildings were captured from Dostum militias and fell under complete Taliban control.
According to the deputy governor of Sheberghan city, government forces and officials had retreated to the airport on the outskirts of the city, where they were preparing to defend themselves.
“The city has unfortunately fallen completely,” Jawzjan deputy governor Qader Malia claimed.
The city was taken days after the notorious warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum came back to his home city from Turkey, were he has been for months allegedly receiving medical treatment.
Dostum reportedly arrived in Kabul on August 4th night and was meeting senior officials to discuss the security in Sheberghan.
On August 7th, President Ghani met with Marshal Abdul Rashid Dostum, the former Vice President, who is a prominent Uzbek leader, at the Presidential Palace. They discussed the security situation in Afghanistan, especially in the northern provinces of the country.
Kabul Now media cited Ehsan Niro, a spokesman for the National Islamic Movement of Afghanistan, as saying that Dostum has suggested 500 special forces to be stationed in Sheberghan a field command office to be set up at Sheberghan airport.
At least 10 Afghan soldiers and a commander of armed members belonging to the Abdul Rashid Dostum militia group were reportedly killed in Jowzjan province this week.
The Taliban is still putting pressure on several provincial capitals, including Herat in the west and Kandahar in the south.
There have also been reports that the group has taken control of the city of Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province. However, these claims are yet to be confirmed.
Last night in the capital of Paktia province, Gardez, 2 Army checkpoints were conquered as a result of the Taliban’s attacks. 19 soldiers were killed, 5 wounded and 9 others were arrested alive. Attacks on enemy checkpoints were also carried out in the Robat area, killing and wounding five soldiers.
At least 11 people were killed and 39 more were wounded in the ongoing clashes in Kunduz city, head of Kunduz Public Health Directorate, Ehsanullah Fazli, said. He said the fighting had started at around 9pm on August 6.
Meanwhile, in the Afghanistan’s capital Kabul, the Taliban launched a manhunt, targeting senior administration officials in retaliation for increased air strikes.
Dawa Khan Menapal, head of the Government Media and Information Centre, was killed on August 6 in the latest in a series of assassinations that are targeting the President Ashraf Ghani’s government.
His killing came days after the Taliban warned it would target senior administration officials.
On August 3rd, the Taliban claimed responsibility for a deadly attack on the residence of Afghanistan’s acting defense minister. At least eight people were killed and many others wounded in following clashes in Kabul.
At the same time, the UN Security Council met in New York to discuss the conflict on August 6th.
The UN special envoy for Afghanistan questioned the Taliban’s commitment to a political settlement. He claimed that the war has entered a “deadlier and more destructive phase” with more than 1,000 civilians killed in the past month during a Taliban offensive.
Amid the Taliban’s advance, the U.S. Embassy urges U.S. citizens to leave Afghanistan immediately using available commercial flight options.
Britain followed the U.S. example, warning all UK nationals in Afghanistan to leave immediately due to the “worsening security situation”.
“All British nationals in Afghanistan are advised to leave now by commercial means. If you are still in Afghanistan, you are advised to leave now by commercial means because of the worsening security situation,” the foreign office said..
The U.S. and its allies failed to establish the security in Afghanistan, now they have no possibility to assist their own citizens to flee from the war-torn country.