Taliban capture second provincial capital in Afghanistan

Taliban capture second provincial capital in Afghanistan

The Afghan Taliban seized control of Sheberghan, the capital of the northern Jowzjan province, on Saturday.

Fighters also captured the governor’s office, police headquarters, intelligence headquarters, and other associated facilities from Afghan troops and militia loyal to former Northern Alliance leader Abdul Rashid Dostum, according to the group’s spokesman.

The claim, however, was unable to be independently verified.

In the northern province of Jowzjan, at least 10 Afghan soldiers and a leader of armed men belonging to the Dostum’s militia organization were slain, according to reports.

The Taliban assaulted the fringes of the province capital Sheberghan this week, according to Abdul Qader Malia, the vice governor of Jowzjan.

The Taliban had taken the provincial capital of Zaranj in the southern province of Nimroz a day before.

As international troops withdraw, the rebels have seized control of dozens of districts and border crossings, putting pressure on many provincial capitals, notably Herat in the west and Kandahar in the south.

Zaranj was the Taliban’s first provincial capital after the US struck an agreement with them in February 2020 for a military withdrawal.

According to Taliban insiders, the organization is ecstatic, and the fall of Zaranj would boost its soldiers’ morale. Zaranj is strategically important since it is on the Iranian border, according to a Taliban commander who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

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