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The Taliban has taken management of three extra provincial capitals in Afghanistan as Joe Biden reaffirmed his choice to drag US troops overseas even because the militant group makes sweeping territorial positive aspects.
The Islamist rebel group has captured 9, or greater than 1 / 4, of the nation’s provincial capitals, together with Puli Khumri, a strategically vital metropolis on the path to Kabul from the historically anti-Taliban north.
The Taliban additionally took management of Faizabad, within the mountainous north-east, a well-fortified metropolis that had remained out of the group’s attain when it dominated the nation within the Nineteen Nineties.
The Taliban has taken management of greater than half of Afghanistan’s about 400 largely rural districts and a lot of economically vital border crossings.
The group has turned its consideration to bigger cities resembling Kandahar, Herat and Mazar-i-Sharif, the primary bastion of resistance within the north. Diplomats and analysts stated Taliban’s technique is to encircle Kabul and pen Afghan forces within the capital in a bid to press President Ashraf Ghani’s authorities to surrender.
The fast advance has surprised consultants however Biden reiterated his intention to drag the remaining US troops overseas by the tip of this month, arguing that it was as much as the Afghans to defend themselves.
“Look, we spent over $1tn over 20 years, we skilled and outfitted with trendy gear over 300,000 Afghan forces,” Biden informed reporters on Tuesday. “Afghan leaders have to come back collectively . . . They’ve obtained to battle for themselves, battle for his or her nation.”
The US has closed its largest base and is conducting restricted air strikes from outdoors the nation however analysts stated the efforts had performed little to sluggish the Taliban offensive.
The US president has confronted fierce criticism within the area, with some arguing that the hasty withdrawal has given the Taliban the higher hand and demoralised Afghanistan’s armed forces.
Different nations, together with the UK and India, have additionally scaled again their presence within the nation. New Delhi on Tuesday withdrew its personnel from its consulate in Mazar-i-Sharif and informed its residents to depart the nation. Analysts stated the selections have been an indication of their restricted confidence within the Ghani authorities’s skill to face up to the Taliban assault.
Khalid Payenda, the appearing finance minister, resigned on Wednesday and left the nation, a departure that would additional undermine the federal government.
The group’s positive aspects have prompted a flood of home refugees, as residents flee preventing and the brutality meted out by the Islamists. The Taliban has reportedly executed rivals and abolished freedoms for ladies in areas the place they’ve taken management.
The Taliban regime that dominated Afghanistan was ousted by a US-led invasion following the terrorist assaults of September 11 2001 by al-Qaeda. The insurgents wish to set up an Islamist emirate in Afghanistan.
The prospect of a protracted civil warfare or complete Taliban takeover has raised issues in Europe of a potential refugee crisis. “We don’t wish to have a descent into chaos,” stated a senior EU official.
The official stated hopes have been fading for a negotiated answer to the battle. “The withdrawal of US, European and different army forces was foreseen,” the official stated. “There was the hope that this is able to be concurrently a political settlement was reached on the negotiating desk. This isn’t the case but.”
However different diplomats stated the unconditional nature of the US withdrawal, based mostly on a 2020 settlement the Taliban signed by Donald Trump’s administration, gave the group little incentive to compromise.
“The way in which the US has performed this withdrawal, that they had not thought via, ‘How do you handover correctly?’” stated one other western diplomat. “The Afghan safety forces and Afghan morale have been massively hit.”
Extra reporting by Henry Foy in Brussels and Farhan Bokhari in Islamabad