On Thursday Taliban took the 10th Afghan provincial capital in a week and just 150 kilometres from Kabul.
The Taliban captured a police headquarters on Thursday in a provincial capital in southern Afghanistan as surrounded government forces hoped to hold onto the capital after the militants' weeklong blitz has seen them already seize nine others around the country.
The Taliban have taken Ghazni city, a senior local lawmaker told the local media reporters on Thursday, the 10th Afghan provincial capital to fall in a week and just 150 kilometres (95 miles) from Kabul.
Nasir Ahmad Faqiri, head of the provincial council said, "The Taliban took control of the key areas of the city -- the governor's office, the police headquarters and the prison."
Fighting raged on in Lashkar Gah, one of Afghanistan's largest cities in the Taliban heartland of Helmand province, teetering toward being lost to the insurgents as suspected US airstrikes pounded the area, an official said.
Afghanistan president Ashraf Ghani arrives in Mazar-i-Sharif to check the security situation on Wednesday. Reuters
Afghan security forces and the government have not responded to repeated requests for comment over the days of fighting. However, President Ashraf Ghani is trying to rally a counteroffensive relying on his country's special forces, the militias of warlords and American airpower ahead of the US and Nato withdrawal at the end of the month.
Earlier, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani flew to the besieged northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif on Wednesday to rally his beleaguered forces, with Taliban fighters having now taken more than a quarter of the country's provincial capitals in less than a week.
Ghani arrived in Mazar as the Taliban captured Faizabad overnight, making it the ninth city to be overrun since Friday.
A still image shows what appear to be militants on a pickup truck with a gun in Afghanistan. Reuters
He plans "to check the general security in the northern zone", according to a statement released by the palace.
Afghans receive medical care after being injured in fighting between the Taliban and forces in Mazar-e-Sharif. AP
The loss of Mazar would be a catastrophic blow to the Kabul government and represent the complete collapse of its control over the north – long a bastion of anti-Taliban militias.
Meanwhile, the militants pressed on with their offensive that US intelligence believes could see them take over the capital, Kabul, within 90 days.
The speed of the Taliban advance — they have captured 10 provincial capitals in less than a week and are threatening to take at least three more — has sparked widespread recriminations of US President Joe Biden's decision to withdraw US troops and leave the Afghan government to fight alone.
The Taliban control about two-thirds of Afghanistan, with the last of the US-led international forces set to leave by the end of the month, and their guerrilla army has waged war on multiple fronts, resulting in thousands of families fleeing the provinces in hope of finding safety in the capital, Kabul.
Government officials have appealed for pressure on Pakistan to stop Taliban reinforcements and supplies flowing over the border. Pakistan denies backing the Taliban.
The government has withdrawn from hard-to-defend rural districts to focus on holding population centres. In some places, government forces have given up without a fight.
In Geneva on Tuesday, UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said reports of violations that could amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity were emerging, including "deeply disturbing reports" of the summary execution of surrendering government troops.
Internally displaced families from northern provinces take shelter in a public park in Kabul, Afghanistan. Reuters
Six EU member states warned the bloc's executive against halting deportations of rejected Afghan asylum seekers arriving in Europe, fearing a possible replay of a 2015-16 crisis over the arrival of more than a million migrants, mainly from the Middle East.
A provincial council member from Badakhshan told the local media reporters that after the Taliban capture of Faizabad — the capital of the northeastern province of Badakhshan — after a long battle, government forces retreated to a neighbouring district, Jawad Mujadidi.
The Afghan president on Thursday praised Pakistan’s efforts to advance the peace process in the region as he reached out to Islamabad for help in bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table with the Kabul government,
Observers believe that the nearly 18-year conflict will be the major focus of talks between Khan and President Donald Trump when they meet on July 22.
Captain Abdulrahman Ahmed Al Shehhi, Director of Investigation Section at the Traffic and Patrols Department, said, “The video went viral in a few hours on social media, showing a person performing dangerous stunts in non-civilized manner, in front of a large number of people.”
The 53rd draw saw 26 winners share the Dhs1,000,000 second prize, taking home Dhs38,462 each. The top prize of Dhs10,000,000 is still up for grabs in the upcoming Grand Draw on Dec.4, 2021 at
Dubai’s Burj Khalifa wrote on Twitter, “Let us celebrate 50 glorious years of growth, progress and prosperity of our nation as we look forward to the next 50 years!” The Dubai International Airport also marked the national day celebrations at its premises.