Today, the Taliban captured three more capitals of the Afghan provinces and the main headquarters of the local army at the end of the flash campaign in the northeast of the country. They now control two.thirds of the country at a time when American and NATO troops are completing their withdrawal after decades of war, the AP agency reports.
As the situation became critical in the north of the country, where the security forces seem to be completely demoralized, President Ghani spent several hours today in Mazar.e.Sharif, to which the Taliban have now focused all their attention, reports AFP.
He spoke with the former governor of Balk province, whose capital is Mazar.i.Sharif, who promised to resist to the last drop of blood.
A spokesman for the president said a meeting with officials in the north discussed the general situation in that part of the country and the coordination, addition of equipment and mobilization of resistance forces.
It was announced tonight that the head of the armed forces was replaced and that General Habatulah Alizija was appointed to that position, and that General Sami Sadat was appointed the head of the special forces.
The bad news is piling up for the Afghan president. Shortly after arriving in Mazar.e.Sharif, he learned that hundreds of security forces who had retreated near Kunduz airport in the northeast had surrendered to the Taliban after the city fell into their hands.
Another provincial capital, Faizabad, in the northeast has fallen into the hands of the Taliban, who now control nine provincial capitals of 34 provinces, seven of which are in the north, a region that has always resisted them, reports Agence France.Presse.
Yesterday, rebels captured Farah in the west and Pul.e.Kumri in the north, 200 kilometers from Kabul. As of Friday, they have had success, Zaranj in the southwest, Shebergan in the north, and Kunduz, their biggest conquest since now, as well as three other northern cities, Talokan, Sarah Poole and Aybak.
Insurgents approaching the city of Mazar.i.Sharif from several directions attacked neighborhoods on the outskirts of the city today, but were suppressed, said a journalist from the Agence France.Presse.
The loss of Mazar.i.Sharif would be catastrophic for a government that would no longer have control over the entire northern half of the country. That would allow the Taliban to focus on other regions and perhaps even the capital, Kabul.
The fall of the capitals represents new pressure for the central government to stop the Taliban’s advance.
The astonishing speed of their offensive raises the question of how long the Afghan government can maintain control over the parts of its territory that remain. The government could be forced to withdraw to defend the capital and perhaps only a few more cities.
According to the latest U.S. intelligence estimates, which take into account new Taliban conquests, Kabul could come under pressure in 30 days, and if current progress continues, the Taliban could have full control of the country in two months, a U.S. official said. military official.