DAccording to US President Joe Biden, the fight against the militant Islamist Taliban is now a matter for Afghans. In the wake of Islamists’ recent progress following a massive withdrawal of international troops, Biden told the White House on Tuesday that Afghans would now “fight for their state”. Their armed forces are also militarily superior to the Taliban in terms of military strength. “But they must also fight,” Biden said.
The US President also appealed to the political leadership in Kabul to come together. Literally, he said, “I think they are beginning to understand that they have to come together politically at the top.” Biden promised that the US would continue to support Afghan security forces financially and militarily. They are apprised of the situation every day. In view of the withdrawal of American troops ordered by him, the president said: “But I do not regret my decision.”
Eight provincial capitals already in the hands of the Taliban
At the time of the decision, the US still had about 2,500 troops in Afghanistan. According to the army, the withdrawal is now more than 95 percent complete. It should be completely over by the end of the month. Troops from the Bundeswehr and other NATO countries have already left Afghanistan.
Since the withdrawal of international troops in early May, the Taliban have captured several areas. On Tuesday he took the eighth provincial capital in quick succession. According to initially unconfirmed reports, the city of Faisalabad is said to have fallen into the hands of Islamists in the evening. Earlier, 250,000 residents of Pul-e Chumri in Baglan province in the country’s north had already paid too much to Islamists, as three provincial councils from the DPA news agency confirmed in the evening. The land route between the capital Kabul and the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif is now cut off.
According to provincial councilor Firusuddin Aimak, government forces left the city on Tuesday evening (local time) without any resistance. Several commanders and other officers had left Pul-e-Chumri ten or 15 days earlier and announced that they would attack the Islamists through another route. The remaining forces may have endured a few more days, but are now back at a military base outside.
Pul-i-Chumri is located on an important underground road between Kabul and Mazar-i-Sharif, where until recently the Bundeswehr had its base. The city is the second largest city in the north-east of the country after Kunduz. International troops have been withdrawing from Afghanistan since early May.
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