Taliban Continues to Advance on Three Major Cities in Afghanistan

The fundamentalist Islamist group Taliban have ramped up pressure around three major cities in south and west Afghanistan, including launching airstrikes on two airports.

The Taliban and the government forces continue to clash against each other as the militants seek to capture the cities of Kandahar, Herat, and Lashkar Gar.

The Taliban fired rockets last July 31 at airports in Kandahar and Herat, forcing authorities to suspend all flights.

According to Afghan government officials, there were no immediate reports of casualties from the rocket attacks.

Flights at the Herat airport, however, subsequently resumed.

In a report by The Washington Post, Kandahar airport chief Massoud Ahmad Pashtun said that three rockets struck the airport within seconds of each other, damaging one of the runways.

“There was a large blast and the whole room started shaking,” Pashtun said.

Member of Parliament Gul Ahmad Kamin told BBC News last July 31 that Kandahar was in serious risk of being seized by the Taliban, with the situation getting worse by the hour.

Officials said that the Taliban see Kandahar as a major focal point and that the militants want to turn it into their temporary capital.

According to Kamin, five or six other provinces in the region would be lost if the Taliban captures Kandahar.

Officials also said that the Taliban has made rapid advancements of strategic buildings in Herat, forcing civilians to remain in their homes.

Security forces spokesperson General Ajmal Shinwari told a press conference on Aug. 1 that all troops were on high alert due to the “emergency situations” in Kandahar and Herat, The Washington Post reported.

The Taliban said they have already seized up to half of all Afghan territory, including border crossings with Pakistan and Iran, following the withdrawal of international troops from the country in recent weeks.


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