On August 14, the Taliban pushed forward in eastern and northeastern Afghanistan, capturing two provincial capitals from government forces.
Taliban fighters took over Sharan, the capital of the eastern province of Paktika. The group faced no real resistance from Afghan government forces.
The Taliban is currently in control of Sharan governor’s headquarters, the local center of the Afghan Police and the headquarters of the Afghan intelligence. Paktika’s central prison was also seized by Taliban fighters, who released dozens of prisoners.
In the northeastern part of Afghanistan, the Taliban captured Asadabad, the capital of Kunar province. The local leadership surrendered to the group, while Afghan government forces retreated without showing any resistance.
At least 43 Afghan service members escaped to Pakistan via the Bin Shahi-Sur Kamar border crossing, according to Pakistani sources.
Meanwhile, the Taliban coutinues to advance towards the Afghan capital, Kabul. On August 14 morning, the group’s fighter launched a large-scale attack on Maidan Shahr, the capital of the central province of Maidan Wardak.
Maidan Shar is located less than 20 km to the southwest of Kabul. Heavy clashes are currently ongoing in the city’s outskirts. Taliban fighters may storm the city in the upcoming few hours.
As the Taliban approaches Kabul, the US is preparing to secure its remaining troops, diplomats and citizens in the capital. According to the Pentagon, two battalions of Marines and one infantry battalion will arrive in the city on the evening of August 15. The UK is also sending troops to Kabul to secure the evacuation of its citizens.
A day earlier, the Taliban captured the provincial capitals of Kandahar, Helmand, Badghis, Ghor, Oruzgan, Logar and Zabul. The group is currently in control of 20 out of 34 provincial capitals in Afghanistan, including the second largest urban center in the country, Kandahar, and the third, Herat.