Afghanistan: The fall of Ghazni, the Taliban occupy the tenth provincial capital

In less than a week, the Taliban occupied the strategically important city of Ghazni, the tenth provincial capital.

Afghan security forces arrested the Ghazni governor and his deputy after escaping the city.

Ghazni is located on the main highway Kabul-Kandahar, which connects the radical stronghold in the south with the capital Kabul.

The capture of Ghazni is believed to increase the likelihood that the Taliban will self-destruct Kabul.

Almost a third of the country’s 34 provincial capitals are now under the control of the Taliban.

When the United States and other foreign forces withdrew after 20 years of military operations, the insurgents moved quickly, conquering new territory almost daily.

In Ghazni, a member of the BBC’s provincial assembly said that the Taliban had occupied most of the city and that only one police base in the suburbs was controlled by the Afghan security forces.

Heavy fighting is said to have broken out in Kandahar as well on Wednesday. The Taliban claimed to have confiscated the city prison, but this has not been confirmed.

In the southern city of Rashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand Province, militants occupied the police headquarters.

According to the United Nations, more than 1,000 civilians died in Afghanistan last month.

In the same week, thousands of people from the northern provinces were internally displaced and went to Kabul in search of safety.

Temporary camps were set up in the bushes on the outskirts of the capital, while many other camps reportedly slept on the streets or in abandoned warehouses.

“We have no money to buy bread, nor do we have money to buy medicines for my children,” a 35-year-old street vendor fled from Kunduz province after the Taliban set the BBC on fire.

In response to the rebellion, the German government threatened to suspend annual financial aid of US $ 500 million (£ 360 million) to Afghanistan if the Taliban took full control of the country.

Germany has also suspended the forced return of Afghan citizens whose asylum applications have failed. The French government said it was also following the same policy.

On Wednesday, Afghanistan replaced the Army Commander-in-Chief, General Wali Mohamed Ahmedzai, who had only been in office since June.

Also on Wednesday, President Ashraf Ghani flew to the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, which is traditionally an anti-Taliban stronghold, to gather pro-government forces there.

Mazar-i-Sharif lies near the border between Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, and its disappearance will mean the total collapse of state control over northern Afghanistan.

In Mazar-i-Sharif, President Ghani held crisis talks with the Uzbek warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum and the famous Tajik leader Ata Mohamed Nur about the defense of the city.

A senior commander, Mr. Dostum, was quoted as saying, “The Taliban have come north many times, but they are always trapped.”

Ethirajan Anbarasan said Ghani had tried for many years to marginalize warlords to bolster the Afghan national army and now turns to them when he needs help. Earlier this week, the president also agreed to arm pro-government militias.

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