Conflict in Afghanistan: Taliban control all major cities except Kabul

The Taliban are closer to regaining full control of Afghanistan, and the capital Kabul is now the only major city under government.

On Sunday, the militants took control of the important city of Jalalabad in the east without a fight.

This means that they now control all roads into neighboring Pakistan.

Reporters in the capital said there was a long line at the airport, people had tried to flee, and some shops and government offices had been evacuated.

The Taliban have ordered their fighters to stay at the entrance to the capital and are urging people to stay in the country.

The statement said negotiations with senior officials in President Ashraf Ghani’s government over a peaceful transfer of power are ongoing.

For other developments:

The government’s last northern stronghold, Mazar-i-Sharif, collapsed with virtually no fighting on Saturday.

The United States evacuates embassy personnel from Kabul; At the airport, where 5,000 US soldiers are stationed, people are seen boarding military jets.

President Joe Biden defended his decision to hasten the withdrawal of American troops, saying he could not defend “the endless existence of the United States in another country’s civil war”.

What happened in Jalalabad?

According to reports on Sunday morning, the Taliban had occupied the provincial capital of Nangarhar without firing a single shot.

A local Afghan official told Reuters: “There is currently no conflict in Jalalabad because the governor has surrendered to the Taliban.”

“Giving the Taliban access is the only way to save civil life.”

Journalist Tariq Ghazniwal tweeted images that appeared to show the governor handing control over to the Taliban.

What happened in Kabul?

The Wall Street Journal correspondent in Kabul, Yaroslav Trofimov (Yaroslav Trofimov), told the BBC World Service that sporadic shootings could be heard.

He said people are taking money from ATMs, the green area where the diplomatic mission is located is being cleared, and flights abroad are fully booked.

Part of the Taliban’s strategy seems to be to allow the fighters to invisibly enter the city.

Trofimov said: “The Taliban did not send a column of tanks to take Kabul. They are already in the city … ready to suddenly appear. This is the situation in other cities like Herat, where the battle suddenly started in the city center …”

More than 250,000 people have been displaced by the fighting and many have sought refuge in the capital.

Some people who fled the Taliban-controlled areas said the militants there were demanding that families hand over girls and unmarried women so that they could become wives of fighters.

Muzhda, a 35-year-old single woman who fled Parwan to Kabul with her two sisters, said she would rather commit suicide than allow the Taliban to force her to marry her.

“I cry day and night,” he told AFP.

Women in Taliban-controlled areas also reported being forced to wear a burqa (a one-piece veil that covers the face and body) and militants reportedly beating people for violating social norms.

A 17-year-old boy named Abdullah told AFP that he and his family fled the northern city of Kunduz after the Taliban occupation and are now sleeping under a tent in Kabul park.

He said that he and other youths in Kunduz were forced to carry rocket-propelled grenades and other ammunition for the militants.

In a recorded televised address on Saturday, President Ghani stated that remobilization of the Afghan armed forces was a top priority to prevent further extermination and displacement.

At the time of the speech, there was speculation that Mr. Ghani might announce his resignation.

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