As the Taliban continues its violent offensive in Afghanistan, they have captured five provincial capitals, with northern Afghanistan’s Kunduz province being the latest to have fallen on Sunday, 8 August.
Experts say Kunduz’s capture would be a significant strategic gain for the Taliban, as it gives good access to much of northern Afghanistan and is one of the country’s larger cities with a population of more than 3,40,000 people.
However, the Afghan government in Kabul denies having lost the northern city, which would be the fourth provincial capital to be largely overrun by Taliban fighters since last Friday (30 July). Interior Ministry Spokesman Mirwais Stanekzai asserted that Afghan security forces continue to fight and have already reclaimed some areas from the Taliban.
Hindustan Times reported that 572 Taliban terrorists, including three Pakistani nationals affiliated to Al-Qaeda, were killed in airstrikes conducted by the Afghan Air Force at the outskirts of Lashkargah, Helmand provincial center, on Sunday.
These airstrikes come a day after the Afghan Ambassador to the UN Ghulam Isaczai said on Friday that Afghanistan is prepared to provide the United Nations Security Council with material evidence in support of its claim that Pakistan is ensuring a supply chain to the Taliban.
Meanwhile, the United States has sent its B-52 bombers and Spectre gunships to Afghanistan to stop the advancement of Taliban insurgents. According to UK-based The Times, the bombers are flying into Afghanistan from an airbase in Qatar, hitting targets around Kandahar, Herat, and Lashkar Gah.