A timeline of Taliban’s sweeping advances in recent months

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Ghani flew out of Afghanistan on Sunday, paving way for Taliban to regain power after 20 years

With sweeping advances on the heel of the withdrawal of US-led foreign troops, the Taliban have recaptured Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, regaining power after two decades of war.

The US and its allies made several attempts for successful talks between Ashraf Ghani’s government and the Taliban but they could not yield results.

Here is a look at the advances made by the Taliban in recent months:

Biden Announces Withdrawal of Forces

On April 14, President Joe Biden Biden announced a full withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan by September 11, ending the 20-year-long war which was launched after the 9/11 attacks.

Under the deal made last year between the Trump administration and the Taliban, the foreign forces were bound to leave Afghanistan by May 1 but Biden extended it, enraging the militant group.

Taliban Inentisfy Offensive

In May, in the midst of the withdrawal of US troops, the Taliban accelerated their activities and launched a major offensive in southern Helmand province and other provinces. Later this month, the group captured Nerkh district just outside the capital Kabul.

In June, massive clashes erupted between Taliban and Afghan forces, causing several causalities on both sides. In the same, the group had captured more than 50 of 370 districts.

US Departs Bagram Airbase

On July 2, the US military quietly departed Afghanistan’s Bagram airbase, the epicenter of its war to oust the Taliban and hunt down the al-Qaeda perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks, after almost 20 years, according to two US officials.

The airbase had been turned over to the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces in its entirety.

Taliban Successfully Capture Cities

By July 21, the Taliban have taken control of about a half of Afghanistan, with fighters heading to Kabul.

On July 25, the US announces that it will assist Afghan troops “in the coming weeks” with intensified airstrikes in order to curb Taliban’s advances.

On July 26, the United Nations revealed that more than 2,000 Afghan people lost their lives in violence during May and June.

The insurgent group claimed to have taken control of first provincial capital, Zaranjr, in the south on August 6.

On July 9, the Taliban captured the sixth provincial Afghan capital as the group continued to make sweeping advances. According to reports, Taliban entered Aybak, the capital of Samangan province, without a fight after community elders requested the officials to avoid violence following weeks of clashes on the outskirts.

On August 14, Taliban captured a large, heavily defended city in northern Afghanistan in a major setback for the government, and the insurgents are approaching the capital less than three weeks before the U.S. hopes to complete its troop withdrawal.

The fall of Mazar-e-Sharif, the country’s fourth largest city, which Afghan forces and two powerful former warlords had pledged to defend, hands the insurgents control over all of northern Afghanistan, confining the Western-backed government to the center and east.

Taliban Enter Kabul

On August 15, a key eastern city of Jalalabad fell to the Taliban without a fight, effectively surrounding Kabul.

The same day, the Taliban enter Kabul and took control of Afghan presidential palace.

Read more: https://pakobserver.net/taliban-take-over-presidential-palace-as-ghani-flees/

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