Taliban move closer to Kabul | free press

Kabul (dpa) – The militant Islamist Taliban continue their advance in Afghanistan and are closing in on the capital, Kabul. On Saturday morning there was fighting over Maidan Schar, the capital of Maidan Wardak province about 35 kilometers from Kabul, said Hamida Akbari MP of the German news agency. The Taliban already ruled most of the province’s districts.

Fighting between the Taliban and government forces continued in at least five provinces across the country. Mazar-i-Sharif, where the Bundeswehr had its headquarters until June, is also a clear target of the Islamists.

The Taliban attempted to invade the city in the north on Saturday morning, but were pushed back, according to local politicians. Ex-provincial governor Mohammad Atta Nur and former warlord Abdul Raschid Dostum have set up a defense line in Balkh province, where Mazar-i-Sharif is located. The Taliban have already taken the surrounding provinces.

On Saturday, the Islamists were also able to take over the 19th of the country’s 34 provincial capitals. Sharana, an estimated 66,000 residents in Paktika province in the southeast of the country, went to the Taliban without a fight after being brokered by elders, three local officials confirmed. Fighting has been reported in the east for the provincial capitals of Paktia and Kunar. Herat and Kandahar, the country’s third and second largest cities, fell to Islamists this week.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said in a short TV speech on Saturday that he did not want the blood of innocent people in Afghanistan to continue to be spilled. He had consulted with political leaders in the country and international partners and wanted to share the results with his compatriots “soon”.

Given the rapid advance of the Taliban, Paris wants to easily protect Afghan local workers and other vulnerable groups in France. As one of only three countries, France continues to issue visas in the Afghan capital Kabul, Elysée circles said Friday evening. “Extraordinary efforts” are being made to make it easier for Afghan artists, journalists and human rights activists to access France.

The Hague: US must continue to intervene in Afghanistan

Former British Foreign Secretary William Hague has called on the US not to rule out military intervention in Afghanistan, even after the country has left. The conservative politician told Times Radio on Friday evening that a “massive military effort” linked to a NATO return to Afghanistan could be avoided. He described the withdrawal of Western troops as a “big mistake”.

Following the announcement of the withdrawal by the US, Britain and its other allies, such as Germany, had decided to end the operation. Since then, the militant Islamist Taliban have conquered large parts of the country.

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