Taliban noose tightens around northern Afghanistan - GulfToday

Taliban noose tightens around northern Afghanistan


Taliban fighters stand guard at a checkpoint in Kunduz city, northern Afghanistan, on Monday. AP

Gulf Today Report

Tens of thousands of people flee their homes for the relative safety of Kabul and other centres after Taliban militants captured a sixth provincial capital, along with border towns and trade routes.

Internally displaced Afghan families fled from Kunduz sit on a field in Kabul on Monday. AFP

The United States said it was up to Afghan security forces to defend the country as President Joe Biden has said the US military mission in Afghanistan will end on Aug. 31, arguing that the Afghan people must decide their own future and that he would not consign another generation of Americans to the 20-year war.


Taliban take another Afghan provincial capital

Heavy fighting underway in 3 provinces as second Afghan city falls to Taliban

Meanwhile, US envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad has left for Qatar where he will "press the Taliban to stop their military offensive and to negotiate a political settlement," the US State Department said on Monday.

Mullah Abdul Ghani (2nd left) arrives with other members of the Taliban delegation for talks in Moscow. File/AP

"In several planned rounds of meetings over three days, representatives from countries in the region and beyond as well as from multilateral organizations will press for a reduction of violence and ceasefire and a commitment not to recognize a government imposed by force," the State Department said.

Meanshile, Chinese and Russian military forces are engaged in joint exercises in northwestern China as ties grow between the two autocratic states amid uncertainty over instability in Afghanistan.

The exercises involving ground troops and air forces are due to continue through Friday in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous region.

US Marines board a C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft headed to Kandahar at Lashkar Gah. AFP

The region borders on Xinjiang, where China has detained more than 1 million Uyghurs and members of other Muslim minorities in what it calls a campaign against terrorism and extremism.

Xinjiang shares a narrow frontier with Afghanistan, and Beijing is concerned about violence spilling over its border if the Taliban take control in the country following the pullout of US troops.

The insurgents now have their eyes on Mazar-i-Sharif, the biggest city in the north, whose fall would signal the total collapse of government control in a region that has traditionally been anti-Taliban.

Government forces are also battling the hardline Islamists in Kandahar and Helmand, the southern Pashto-speaking provinces from where the Taliban draw their strength.



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