Kabul, Afghanistan (AP) – The Taliban have seized three more provincial capitals in Afghanistan, officials said on Wednesday.
Pressure mounted on the country’s central government to prevent the capitals of the provinces of Badakhshan and Baghlan in the northeast and Farah province in the west from continuing to collapse.
Although there is no direct threat to Kabul in advance, the Taliban offensive continues to extend the Afghan security forces.
The Afghan government and military did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Humayun Shahidsada, a legislator from Farah, confirmed to the Associated Press that his provincial capital had collapsed. Hujatullah Gerdmond, a legislator from Badakhshan, said the Taliban had seized his province. The Afghan official, who spoke anonymously to talk about the unauthorized loss, said Paglan’s capital had also fallen.
The rebels had earlier captured six provincial capitals in the country within a week, including Kunduz in Kunduz province, one of the country’s largest cities.
After 20 years of Western military service and the training and hoarding of billions of dollars for Afghan forces, many are at odds with explaining why conventional forces have fallen, sometimes hundreds of fleeing the war. The fighting has largely fallen to elite forces and small groups of the Afghan Air Force.
The victory of the Taliban has increased the urgency of resuming long-suspended talks in Qatar. The rebels refused to return to the negotiating table.
U.S. peace envoy Salmay Khalilzad warned the Taliban on Tuesday that any government coming to power in Afghanistan would not be recognized internationally.
Tens of thousands of people fled their homes in the north of the country to escape the wars that engulfed their cities and villages. Families flock to the capital, Kabul, living on parks and streets with little food or water.
Cambrell reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
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