Taliban takeover mapped: FIVE Afghan cities fall in 3 days as US plans to withdraw troops

Afghanistan: Kabul likely to fall to Taliban says Dr Afzal Ashraf

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Fighting in Afghanistan has reintensified in recent weeks between the Taliban and Afghan forces. Five provincial capitals were reportedly overrun by insurgents over the last few days, while fighting continues in several other cities.

Where did the Taliban take over the weekend?

The Taliban reportedly overran the northern city of Kunduz on Sunday, along with Sar-e-Pul and Taloqan.

Many fled Kunduz over the weekend, hoping to reach Kabul, which is Government-controlled.

This weekend the Taliban also captured Zaranj, which is on the border with Iran in Afghanistan’s southern Nimroz province.

The Taliban has also reportedly captured the city of Sheberghan.

In recent weeks, the Taliban have torn through rural areas of Afghanistan and targeted major cities such as Kandahar and Herat.

Near the border with Iran to the west, security officials told Reuters heavy fighting was underway on the outskirts of Herat.

A spokesman for the Taliban’s political office told Al-Jazeera TV on Sunday that there is no agreement on a ceasefire with the Afghan government, and warned against further US intervention in Afghanistan.

On Monday, Afghanistan forces launched their counter-attack to reclaim Kunduz from Taliban forces.

When will US troops withdraw from Afghanistan?

The decision to withdraw US forces from Afghanistan by the end of August was backed by allies, including the UK.

British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace told the Daily Mail newspaper that the accord struck last year between the US and the Taliban was a “rotten deal”.

Mr Wallace said the Government had asked some NATO allies to keep their troops in Afghanistan once the US troops departed, but failed to garner enough support.

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He said: “Some said they were keen, but their parliaments weren’t.

“It became apparent pretty quickly that without the United States as the framework nation it had been, these options were closed off.”

General Sir Richard Barrons told BBC Radio 4’s The World This Weekend the withdrawal at this time “is a strategic mistake”.

General Barrons said: “I don’t believe it’s in our own interest – in making that decision to leave we’ve not only, I think, sold the future of Afghanistan into a very difficult place, we’ve also sent a really unfortunate message to the West’s allies in the Gulf and Africa and Asia.”

He added that it suggests “we don’t have the stomach to see these things through, and we would rather leave than ensure that a humanitarian or political crisis doesn’t occur”.

He added: “We will run the risk of terrorist entities re-establishing in Afghanistan to bring harm in Europe and elsewhere.

“So I think this is a very poor strategic outcome.”

The UK Government advised all British citizens to leave Afghanistan this week because of the worsening security situation.

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