Taliban Capture Strategic Cities as Biden Speeds Troop Deployment to Afghanistan

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Nonetheless, he has little obvious assist at residence, and hundreds of his troopers had been surrendering. Mr. Ghani was not “price combating for,” Omar Zakhilwal, a former finance minister, tweeted on Friday.

With most of Afghanistan beneath the management of the Taliban, and with Kabul one of many final bastions held by authorities forces, most of the metropolis’s residents expressed fatalism and concern on the prospect of their residence falling into the palms of the militant group.

The lack of the nation’s north — as soon as the center of the resistance to the Taliban’s earlier rise to energy in 1996 — supplied a devastating blow to morale for a rustic gripped with panic.

The Taliban seized Mazar-i-Sharif barely an hour after breaking by way of the entrance strains on the metropolis’s edge. Quickly after, authorities safety forces and militias fled — together with these led by the notorious warlords Marshal Abdul Rashid Dostum and Atta Muhammad Noor — successfully handing management to the insurgents.

Within the late 1990s, Mazar-i-Sharif was the positioning of pitched battles between the Taliban and northern militia teams that managed to push again the hard-line insurgents earlier than the group took over town in 1998. The victory adopted infighting and defections among the many militias and culminated with the Taliban’s bloodbath of a whole lot of militia fighters who had surrendered.

Throughout the present Taliban navy marketing campaign, Mazar’s protection was nearly utterly reliant on the reincarnations of a few of these exact same militias which have all however failed to carry their territory elsewhere within the north. Some are led by Mr. Dostum, a former Afghan vp who has survived the previous 40 years of struggle by reducing offers and switching sides.

Others had been behind Mr. Noor, a longtime energy dealer and warlord in Balkh Province who fought the Soviets within the 1980s and the Taliban within the 1990s. Throughout the civil struggle, he was a commander in Jamiat-i-Islami, an Islamist get together within the nation’s north, and he was a number one determine within the Northern Alliance that supported the American invasion in 2001. Shortly afterward, he grew to become Balkh’s governor, deeply entrenched because the singular authority within the province. He refused to depart his place after Mr. Ghani fired him in 2017.

Helene Cooper reported from Washington, and Christina Goldbaum from Kabul, Afghanistan. Lara Jakes contributed reporting from Washington, and Najim Rahim and Sharif Hassan from Kabul. Adam Nossiter additionally contributed reporting.



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