Taliban occupied Ghazni: Ghazni is located along the main Kabul-Kandahar Highway, serving as an important gateway to Afghanistan, especially between the capital city of Kabul and other Taliban strongholds in the south.
The Taliban in Afghanistan have now taken control of key Ghazni, just 150 kilometers from the country’s capital and headquarters in Kabul, the AFP news agency reported Thursday morning, citing a senior lawmaker and insurgents. This will make Ghazni the tenth regional capital for the Taliban this week, amid rapidly deteriorating political conditions and U.S. concerns that Kabul could fall to insurgents in 90 days.
“The Taliban have taken control of key areas of the city – the governor’s office, police headquarters and prisons,” Ghazni provincial council head Nasir Ahmed Fakhri was quoted as saying by the AFP. He said that although clashes were reported from some parts of the city, the provincial capital was largely under rebel control at this time.
The news agency also contacted the Taliban to confirm the development. A statement posted on social media by a rebel spokesman confirmed that Ghazni had fallen into the hands of the Taliban.
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Ghazni is located along the main Kabul-Kandahar Highway, serving as an important gateway to Afghanistan, especially between the capital city of Kabul and other Taliban strongholds in the south.
The fall of Ghazni is likely to put further pressure on the Afghan air force, which has already found it difficult to deal with the Taliban as insurgents have seized regional capitals across the country. Within a week, 10 such cities had fallen, the Taliban strategically the largest city in the north, the traditional anti-Taliban stronghold of Mazar-i-Sharif.
According to Reuters, the U.S. defense official cited the country’s intelligence agencies late Wednesday night and estimated that the Taliban could isolate Kabul in a month. Considering their recent gains, the militants could also take control of the Afghan capital within 90 days, the official news agency said.