The Taliban took control of two of Afghanistan’s largest cities on Thursday, as the US and Britain announced plans to send thousands of troops to assist with the evacuation of their embassy employees.
The Taliban have conquered 12 of Afghanistan’s 34 provincial capitals in a weeklong assault, and Kandahar and Herat are the biggest gains yet for them.
Meanwhile, the conquest of Ghazni cuts off a vital route that connects Kabul, the Afghan capital, with the country’s southern provinces, all as part of an insurgent drive nearly 20 years after US and NATO soldiers invaded and deposed the Taliban administration.
A Taliban spokesman said that the group’s militants had conquered both cities, capitals of the same regions.
Gul Ahmad Kamin, a Kandahar member of parliament, confirmed the city’s collapse on early Friday.
The Pentagon said it would send roughly 3,000 more troops within 48 hours to help evacuate diplomatic workers in reaction to the Taliban’s fast and brutal advances.
“We expect to draw down to a core diplomatic presence in Afghanistan in the coming weeks,” said State Department spokesperson Ned Price.
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