Taliban take secret Afghan district, contributing to string of gains

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Taliban take key Afghan district, adding to string of gains

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KABUL, Afghanistan — Taliban fighters took control of a crucial district in Afghanistan’s northern Kunduz province Monday and surrounded the provincial capital, cops stated, as the insurgent group contributed to its current battleground triumphes while peace talks have actually stalemated.

The Taliban’s gains came as the Pentagon declared the U.S. troop withdrawal was still on speed to conclude by early September.

Fighting around Imam Sahib district started late Sunday and by midday Monday the Taliban had actually overrun the district head office and were in control of cops head office, stated Inamuddin Rahmani, provincial cops spokesperson stated.

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Taliban militants were within a kilometer (0.6 miles) of Kunduz, the provincial capital however had actually not participated in the city, he stated, although there were reports of little bands of Taliban near the borders and homeowners attempting to leave for Kabul.

Dozens of districts have actually been up to the Taliban because May 1, when U.S. and NATO soldiers started their last departure from Afghanistan. Like Imam Sahib district in northern Kunduz, their significance frequently depends on their distance to roadways and significant cities.

Afghan security force members stand at a security checkpoint after armed clashes on the borders of Kunduz city.Ajmal Kakar / Xinhua / Getty Images file

Imam Sahib is tactically situated near Afghanistan’s northern border with Tajikistan, a crucial supply path from Central Asia.

Rahmani stated cops and Afghan National Army soldiers had actually collectively attempted to safeguard the district. He stated it still wasn’t clear the number of casualties the Afghan National Security and Defense Forces suffered in the drawn-out fight or the number of Taliban were eliminated or injured.

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahed validated Imam Sahib district remained in Taliban hands.

Several other districts in Kunduz have actually likewise been up to the insurgent group in the current round of combating, consisting of Dasht-e-Archi, which next-door neighbors Imam Sahib, stated Rahmani, additional combining regional transport links in the location.

Syed Mohammad Mousavi drove with his household to the relative security of Kabul from northern Mazar-e-Sharif, about 120 kilometers (75 miles) west of Kunduz on Sunday.

He stated individuals were attempting to leave Kunduz city for Kabul fearing extra combating. “The Taliban were all over the road, checking cars. We were very scared,” he stated after reaching the capital.

In current days, the Taliban have actually taken numerous districts throughout the 3 northern provinces of Kunduz, Baghlan and Balkh, stated Mousavi. Significantly, witnesses stated Doshi district in Baghlan province remained in Taliban hands, which if it real offers the insurgent group control of the one roadway that connects 5 northern provinces to the capital Kabul.

The Taliban have actually distributed videos on their site and to WhatsApp groups which they declare reveal federal government soldiers who have actually given up being informed to go back to their houses and getting cash from the Taliban. On Sunday, Taliban leader Mawlawi Hibatullah Akhunzada released a declaration purchasing his soldiers to “treat those who surrender well and display good behavior with them.”

But the combating has actually been bitter in some districts with both sides suffering casualties. A senior cops main speaking on condition he not be determined due to the fact that he is not licensed to speak with the media stated the cops combating in the districts are mainly from bad households. Those households have actually stayed bad regardless of the trillions of dollars invested in Afghanistan in the past 20 years. “They have actually not seen modifications in their lives and are indifferent so they see no distinction. … They wish to conserve their lives simply for today.”

Taliban gains and the consistent withdrawal of the staying 2,500-3,500 U.S. soldiers and 7,000 NATO forces have actually provided a seriousness to efforts to discover a worked out end to Afghanistan’s drawn-out dispute.

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby on Monday stated Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has actually routinely examined the U.S. withdrawal, which he stated is “on speed” and will be completed by early September. “It is a dynamic situation, and we’ve said that from the very beginning,” Kirby stated.

Austin is “looking at the situation every day with a fresh set of eyes to see if, you know, the pace we are setting is the appropriate pace.” Among the unpredictabilities, authorities have actually stated, is the State Department’s requirements for embassy security and its choices about getting interpreters and other Afghans who dealt with the Americans out of the nation.

Talks in between the federal government and the Taliban occurring in Qatar have actually stalemated. While Taliban leaders state they are prepared to work out, observers acquainted with the talks state the insurgent motion appears more distressed to chalk up military gains wanting to reinforce their working out position.

Later today, President Joe Biden will meet Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, the head of the nation’s High Council for National Reconciliation, which overseas the federal government’s settlement group.

Friday’s conference in Washington, according to a White House declaration, is meant to declare America’s monetary and humanitarian help “to support the Afghan people, including Afghan women, girls and minorities.”

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki stated Monday their discussion would likewise “continue to go over how we can interact to make sure that Afghanistan never ever once again ends up being a safe house for terrorist groups who posture a hazard to the U.S. homeland.”

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