Taliban on the outskirts of Kabul : Afghanistan

Taliban on the outskirts of Kabul : Afghanistan

After a series of battles and victories, the Taliban movement on Friday became almost on the outskirts of Kabul to continue its advance in Afghanistan, at a time when Western countries decided to evacuate their nationals from the country and Washington began plans to evacuate its embassy and destroy materials it described as sensitive.

On Friday, the Taliban seized the city of "Buli Alam", the capital of Logar province, located only 50 kilometers south of Kabul, and now controls about half of the capitals of the Afghan provinces, all of which fell in less than 8 days.

This came after Taliban militants took control of Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province in the south of the country, a few hours after the fall of Kandahar, the second city of the country, 150 km to the east of it.

A senior security official told AFP that "Lashkar Gah was evacuated. They decided a 48-hour ceasefire to allow the exit" of the army and administrative officials.

On Friday, the Taliban took control of Shagashran, the capital of Ghor province in the center, without facing any resistance.

Fear in the capital

With the movement's control of Logar state, which is not far from Kabul, fear and anticipation prevail among the residents of the capital, who are anticipating the worst and fear that their city will be the last line of defense.

Amrullah Saleh, the first vice president of Afghanistan, said that "the Afghan government decided to stand in front of the Taliban militants after its meeting, which was held today, Friday, at the presidential palace."

Saleh added that all necessary facilities will be provided to the armed forces and popular uprisings in all states, as he put it.

Most of the country's north, west and south are now under the control of Taliban fighters.

Kabul, Mazar-i-Sharif (the largest cities in the north) and Jalalabad (east) are the only three major cities still under government control.

Ismael Khan, one of Afghanistan's most famous warlords, surrendered to the Taliban after the fall of Herat in the West on Thursday, having been the undisputed strongman there for decades. Taliban fighters promised to ensure his safety.

In Lashkar Gah in Helmand province, where the Taliban has traditionally been popular, its fighters were well received and calm quickly returned after several days of violent clashes.

"Most of the city is destroyed by the fighting, and there is not enough food in the market. It still looks like an occupied city," said one resident, Abdel Halim.

The Taliban movement began its attack last May, when US President Joe Biden confirmed the departure of the last foreign forces from the country, 20 years after it intervened to oust the Taliban from power in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks. This withdrawal is supposed to end by August 31. .

Since then, Biden has said he has no regrets about his decision, despite how quickly the Afghan army collapsed in the face of the Taliban's advance, surprising and disappointing Americans after spending more than a billion dollars in 20 years to train and equip it.

With the Taliban's rapid advance, Washington announced that it had decided to "reduce its diplomatic presence" in Kabul.

On Friday, the White House said in a tweet on Twitter that President Joe Biden discussed, on Friday, with Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, "ongoing efforts to reduce the number of civilians in Afghanistan safely."

To ensure the safe evacuation of US diplomats, the US Department of Defense will send 3,000 troops to Kabul International Airport to join the 650 US military in Afghanistan, according to its spokesman, John Kirby.

The spokesman added that about 3,500 other soldiers will go to Kuwait in order to send them as reinforcements in the event of any deterioration of the situation in Kabul.

The US Department of Defense said Friday that it is ready to evacuate "thousands of people per day" by air, considering that Kabul does not face an "imminent danger".

intelligence assessment

And the American network "CNN" (CNN) reported that the US embassy in Kabul issued a memo instructing employees to destroy "sensitive materials" in light of US intelligence assessments of the Taliban's imminent control of the Afghan capital.

The network quoted a diplomatic source as saying that one of the intelligence assessments indicates that Kabul may be isolated by the Taliban within a week, and possibly within the next 72 hours.

The diplomatic source said the memo required workers to destroy items "that could be misused in propaganda efforts" including papers, electronics and flags.

Politico newspaper quoted sources as saying that the Pentagon had begun making plans to withdraw the entire US mission from Afghanistan.

The sources said that the US Central Command considers the evacuation of the embassy in Kabul inevitable.

Departure hour

At the same time, Britain announced that it would send 600 soldiers to help British nationals leave Afghan territory.

Several countries, including the Netherlands, Finland, Sweden, Italy and Spain, announced on Friday that they would reduce their presence in the country to a minimum, pointing to programs to evacuate their Afghan employees.

Germany also said it would reduce its diplomatic staff.

Other countries, such as Norway and Denmark, preferred to temporarily close their embassies. And Switzerland, which does not have an embassy, ​​announced the evacuation of a number of Swiss collaborators and about 40 local employees.

These developments come a day after the conclusion of three days of international meetings in the Qatari capital, Doha, without making any tangible progress.

The United States, Pakistan, the European Union and China said in a joint statement that they would not recognize any government in Afghanistan "imposed by force".

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