Taliban seizes 18th Afghan city, sweeps across country’s south

The Taliban fighters standing on a military vehicle in the streets of Herat [Screenshot/AFPTV]

The Taliban armed group has captured the provincial capitals in Afghanistan, Qalat, Terenkot, Pul-e Alam, Feruz Koh, Qala-e Naw, and Lashkar Gah, hours after capturing Herat and Kandahar cities.

It so far has control over 18 provincial capitals across Afghanistan, according to Al Jazeera.

While Kabul isn’t directly under threat yet, the losses and the battles elsewhere further tighten the grip of a resurgent Taliban, who are estimated to now hold over two-thirds of the country and continue to press their offensive, TRT word reported.

Meanwhile, the United Kingdom’s defence minister said that Afghanistan is tipping towards civil war and the West must understand that the Taliban is not a single entity but a title for a myriad of competing interests.

“Britain found that out in the 1830s, that it is a country led by warlords and led by different provinces and tribes, and you end up, if you’re not very careful in a civil war, and I think we are heading towards a civil war,” Defence Secretary Ben Wallace tells the BBC.

“The Taliban is not entirely a single entity, they break down underneath the title into all sorts of different interests,” Wallace said.

Peace talks in Qatar remain stalled, though diplomats are still meeting.

The latest US military intelligence assessment suggests Kabul could come under insurgent pressure within 30 days and that, if current trends hold, the Taliban could gain full control of the country within a few months.

Conflict taking heaviest toll on displaced women, children: UNHCR

The Afghanistan conflict is taking the heaviest toll on displaced women and children, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has said.

“We are particularly worried about the impact of the conflict on women and girls. Some 80 per cent of nearly a quarter of a million Afghans forced to flee since the end of May are women and children,” UNHCR spokesperson Shabia Mantoo said at a press briefing in Geneva.

Some 400,000 people have been forced from their homes since the beginning of the year, joining some other 2.9 million Afghans who remain internally displaced across the country, Mantoo said.