WORLD Taliban claims control over three more Afghan provincial centers

WORLD

Taliban claims control over three more Afghan provincial centers

Xinhua

08:44, August 14, 2021

Taliban militants are seen inside the Kandahar city, southern Afghanistan, Aug. 13, 2021. Taliban militants on Friday claimed to have taken control over key southern Afghan cities of Lashkar Gah and Kandahar, after weeks of heavy clashes between the Taliban and government forces. (Photo: Xinhua)

KABUL, Aug. 13 (Xinhua) -- The Afghan Taliban said their members overran three more provincial capitals on Friday, after they have taken control over a dozen cities within a week.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, wrote on his social media account that they captured Tirin Kot, capital of southern Uruzgan province, and Firoz Koah, capital of western Ghor province.

He also said most parts of Pul-e-Alam, capital of eastern Logar province, has fallen to Taliban, adding that clashes continued at an intelligence agency office and two army bases at midday on Friday.

Pul-e-Alam, about 60 km south of Afghanistan's capital Kabul, has been the scene of heavy clashes since early Friday when Taliban stormed the city from different locations.

Meanwhile, Afghanistan's defense ministry said in a statement earlier Friday that at least 21 Taliban members were killed following an airstrike on the outskirts of provincial capital Pul-e-Alam.

A militants' vehicle, weapons and ammunition were destroyed by the raid, which was carried out by the Afghan Air Force, according to the defense ministry statement.

No fighting was reported in two other seized provincial centers, according to media reports.

The Afghan government has not confirmed the claim by the Taliban so far.

In western Herat province, Taliban said that Ismahil Khan, a former anti-Soviet jihadi leader, together with provincial officials, military commanders and hundreds of soldiers surrendered to the Taliban members.

The Taliban members captured Herat city late on Thursday.

Earlier in August, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) expressed deep concerns about the safety of civilians in several provincial capitals for fear that tens of thousands were trapped by fighting.

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