On Tuesday evening, the Taliban captured the capital of the northern province of Baglan, Pul-Khumri, and statements by the residents highlight the retreat of the Afghan forces to Kelagi Desert which is the home to a large Afghan army base. Within a week, the Taliban were able to take control of the seventh regional capital Pul-e-Khumri.
Thus, Biden told the reporters at the White House that in the wake of the Taliban’s control over Afghanistan, the “Afghan leaders have to come together. They’ve got to fight for themselves, fight for their nation.”
In addition, he asserted that the US under his administration does not regret its decision of withdrawal on 4th July 2021 and said that our country has already spent $1.2 trillion for twenty years and bore the loss of lives. Also, our withdrawal would not put end to continued food, air support, and monetary assistance to Afghanistan and Afghan soldiers.
Meanwhile, in Kabul, President Ashraf Ghani urged the civilians to defend Afghanistan’s “democratic fabric” and added that he was seeking assistance from regional militias he bickered with for years
Taliban making large swaths in the northern province
Taliban fighters have been infiltrating the Aibak which is a provincial capital between the northern city of Kabul and Mazar-e Sharif. They are taking control of government buildings leaving the officials with no choice except for a “self-imposed house arrest or to find a way to leave for Kabul,” said tax officer Sher Mohamed Abbas, when asked about living conditions in Aibak. Abbas, who supports nine family members claimed that “even Kabul is not a safe option anymore,”
Earlier, the northern province of Afghanistan was considered the most peaceful region with minimal Taliban presence. The insurgents’ strategy looks like taking control of the north, all the border crossing at west, south, north, and then converging in Kabul. Also, the Taliban as they battle the US-imposed government in Kabul which they deem as a “puppet government” strive to reimpose strict Sharia rules.
The peace talks have entered the stalemate phase and their inroads into Aibak, the key official province was met with little resistance. However, the Taliban’s spokesperson, told Aljazeera TV on Tuesday that their commitment to peace talks stands staunch and they do not want the negotiation path to collapse.
Nonetheless, the Taliban’s offensive according to a senior European Union representative’s statement on Tuesday appears to remain unabated as they control 65% of the Afghan land and have threatened to capture 11 provinces.
Taliban fighters overran three provincial capitals, including the strategic city of Kunduz and Sar-e Pol in the north of the country on August 8, as the group stepped up its northern offensive and threatened more urban centers.https://t.co/dxgtsg0ymj via @GandharaRFE
— Abubakar Siddique (@sid_abu) August 8, 2021
Pressure on Pakistan
The Afghan officials have appealed for pressure on Pakistan to curtail the Taliban’s offensive and relentless capture of the land. They blame Pakistan for supporting the Taliban through armed supplies.
The Foreign Minister of Pakistan Shah Mehmood Quershi has assertively told the media on Monday that the world needs to stop blaming Pakistan for the Afghan fiasco. Also, the US has been carrying out airstrikes in Afghanistan to support Afghan forces and exercise a “kinetic effect” on the Taliban as stated by the US Defence spokesman John Kirby.
Families displaced and violence unabated
Head of National Disaster Authority Gulam Bahauddin Jailani, told Reuters that as a result of relentless fighting in 25 out of 34 provinces, around 60,000 families have been displaced in the last 2 months with many seeking refuge in Kabul. Michelle Bachelet, UN human Rights Chief warns that if such violence continued, it might amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity as human rights violation reports have started to show a deeply disturbing situation.
Also, the Taliban’s intransigence has emerged as they foster violence despite their promises to ensure that Afghanistan would not become a harbinger of international terrorism if Washington completely withdraws. Also, the intra-Afghan dialogue remains problematic.