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The Taliban’s offensive swept through northern Afghanistan, adding pressure to the Kabul government as US troops were preparing to leave the country.
This militant Islamic group occupied five Afghan provincial capitals over the weekend, four of which were in the north. This is a historical fortress of warlords hostile to the Taliban. On Monday, the fifth provincial capital in the north was captured.
Since US President Joe Biden announced in April that US troops will withdraw from Afghanistan at the end of August, the Taliban have achieved the most significant results.
With the retreat of government security forces to local cities, Taliban fighters have occupied most of rural Afghanistan, controlling more than half of the country’s 400 regions and some economically important border crossings.
The Taliban is an ultra-conservative militant organization whose roots lie in the armed resistance to Soviet occupation in the 1980s. The Taliban hopes to establish an Islamic emirate in Afghanistan. It came to power in the late 1990s, but after the 9/11 attacks, it was overthrown by a US-led invasion in 2001, which was carried out by Al Qaeda, a jihadist group linked to the Taliban.
According to the terms of the 2020 agreement between the Taliban and the Trump administration to pave the way for the withdrawal of American troops, the recent attacks on urban centers undermined the Biden administration’s hopes for a political settlement between the Taliban and Afghan leaders in Kabul. Negotiations between President Ashraf Ghani’s government and Islamists have stalled.
The Taliban also besieged the second and third largest cities in Afghanistan, Kandahar and Herat, and dropped bombs and bombs on the capital, Kabul. Rocket attack Analysts believe this is a harbinger of the ultimate push for full control of the country.
“The fear is political collapse. The fall of these major cities has triggered a political cascade, people readjusted allegiance, and the cohesion of the security forces collapsed,” said Asfandia Mir, a South Asian security analyst.
“Of course this gives them the upper hand. The north is one of the main areas where many of us hope resistance will emerge.”
The northern capitals captured in recent days include Kunduz, one of the most populous cities in the country, and the government has vowed to defend it.The Taliban also briefly occupied the city 2015 And in 2016, Both times handed over control to the government forces within a few days.
The militant group also occupied Abdul Rashid Dostum’s stronghold Sheberghan, and Abdul Rashid Dostum was A Uzbek warlord who played a key role in the Northern Alliance coalition that helped the United States defeat the Taliban in 2001.
According to reports, the Taliban are now targeting other northern cities, including Mazar-e-Sharif, the largest city in the region, and the base of former governor and another northern commander, Atta Mohamed Nur.
Analysts say this offensive may disrupt the mobilization New Front of Militia Leaders The Islamists who opposed the resurrection further weakened the country’s armed resistance.
“No one thinks they will acquire territory so quickly,” said Roman Malejak, a political scientist and author of a book on Afghan warlords. “The future is worse than the present [been] In the past few weeks. “
The United States has been conducting air strikes in Kunduz and other places to support the Afghan army. The attacks were led from abroad after the United States. Close its main air base last month. A U.S. defense official told the Financial Times that only “A handful“One day of strike.
Analysts pointed out that the feeling of giving up on the hasty U.S. withdrawal has weakened the morale of the Afghan security forces.
“This is a very terrible situation. The US government was caught off guard and could not provide a meaningful response,” Mill said.