On August 9, local time, the Taliban in Afghanistan announced that they had taken control of six provincial capitals within four days. Since the US military began to withdraw from Afghanistan in May, the domestic situation in Afghanistan has continued to deteriorate.
Picture: Afghan National Army Commando
Afghan Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said on social media on the 9th that the Taliban had captured the city of Ibak, the capital of the northern Samangan Province. This is the sixth capital city announced by the Taliban since May 1. Prior to this, the Taliban had occupied most of the rural areas.
Zalme Khalilzad, Special Representative of the U.S. Government for Reconciliation Affairs in Afghanistan, went to Doha, the capital of Qatar, to participate in talks on the 10th, calling on the Taliban to stop the offensive. According to the plan, multiple rounds of meetings will be held within three days. Representatives of countries in the region, other countries, and multinational organizations will discuss the situation in Afghanistan. The US believes that reaching a peace agreement through negotiation is the only way to end the war.
However, the US has repeatedly emphasized that the plan for a complete withdrawal of troops at the end of August will not change. Although the US military will continue to provide airstrike support in the future, the Afghan government needs to “self-reliance.”
Picture: The U.S. military deployed B-52 strategic bombers in air strikes
The current US air strikes against Afghanistan seem to have failed to reverse the deteriorating domestic situation in Afghanistan. The US air strikes against the Taliban mainly come from the B-52 bombers deployed at Udeid Air Force Base in Qatar and the USS Reagan aircraft carrier battle group located in the Arabian Sea.
US Pentagon spokesman John Kirby also admitted that ground combat “obviously is not moving in the right direction.” But he said that the US Secretary of Defense still believes that the Afghan army is capable of playing a major role on the battlefield, and the United States will provide support “where and when it is feasible.” In addition, the US military focused on completing the withdrawal at the end of this month and transforming it into a “different bilateral relationship” with the Afghan military.
According to reports, although the Taliban are currently accelerating progress in Afghanistan, there is no sign that the United States has stepped up its air strikes in Afghanistan. Kirby declined to say how many air strikes the U.S. fighter planes have carried out in recent days, or whether the U.S. government will continue to carry out air strikes after the August 31 withdrawal date.
According to information released by the US Central Command, as of August 2, the evacuation of the US troops in Afghanistan has completed more than 95%.
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