Taliban Captures Sixth Provincial Capital in Afghanistan

The Taliban seized a sixth provincial capital in northern Afghanistan on Aug. 9, following its capture of five capitals in the last three days.

Taliban fighters swept into Aibak, the capital of  the northern Samangan province, without any clashes and were “in full control,” Deputy Provincial Governor Sefatullah Samangani confirmed.

Aibak is a key route for supplying goods to the region, which means that its capture leaves the government forces in the region cut off from supplies.

Samangani said that the local governor had withdrawn all forces from the city to protect the civilian population.

The Taliban posted a video on Twitter showing its fighters standing on the main administrative building in the city and on a road on the outskirts.

A local official confirmed to British news outlet The Guardian that the police headquarters, the governor’s office, and the intelligence department were now under the control of the militants after Taliban Spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said in a tweet that the sites “have been cleared.”

The local official also said that “Kabul did not send help.”

Another senior local official blamed the fall of Aibak on Asif Azimi, a former senator and local strongman who sided with the Taliban on Aug. 8 with 300 of his men, according to The Guardian.

The militants’ capture of Aibak came after they took control of the cities of Nimruz, Sheberghan, Kunduz, Sar-e Pul, and Taloqan from Aug. 6 to Aug. 8.

Mujahid said on Aug. 9 that the Taliban were moving in on Mazar-i-Sharif, the largest and most populous city in the north.

However, some officials said that the Taliban was exaggerating and confirmed clashes within surround districts.

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