Biden says Afghan leaders should ‘battle for his or her nation’ as Taliban positive factors By Reuters


© Reuters. An internally displaced child from northern provinces who fled his homeland before the fighting between the Taliban and Afghan security forces sleeps in a public park that they will use as a shelter on August 10, 2021 in Kabul, Afghanistan.REUTERS / Stringer TPX IMAGES OF THE TAG


KABUL / WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Taliban insurgents increased their control of captured Afghan territory and now control 65% of the country on Tuesday when US President Joe Biden urged nation leaders to fight for their homeland.

Pul-e-Khumri, the capital of northern Baghlan province, fell victim to the Taliban on Tuesday evening, local residents reported that Afghan security forces had withdrawn towards the Kelagi Desert, where a large Afghan army base is located.

Pul-e-Khumri is the seventh regional capital to come under the control of Islamist militants in about a week.

“Afghan leaders need to come together,” Biden told reporters at the White House, saying that Afghan troops outnumber the Taliban and should want to fight. “You have to fight for yourself, fight for your nation.”

The US president said he had no regrets about his withdrawal. Washington has spent more than $ 1 trillion and lost thousands of soldiers in 20 years. He said the United States would continue to provide significant air support, food, equipment and salaries to the Afghan armed forces.

In Kabul, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said he was looking for help from regional militias with whom he has been fighting for years. He appealed to the civilian population to defend the “democratic structure” of Afghanistan.

Taliban fighters moved into government buildings in Aibak, a provincial capital between the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif and Kabul. Most of the government forces appeared to have withdrawn.

“The only way is self-imposed house arrest or an exit to Kabul,” said tax officer Sher Mohamed Abbas when asked about living conditions in Aibak.

“But then Kabul is no longer a safe option either,” says Abbas, who supports a family of nine.

For years, the north was the most peaceful region in Afghanistan with only minimal Taliban presence. The strategy of the militants seems to be to take the north and border crossings in the north, west and south and then Kabul. close .

The Taliban, who fought in an impasse to defeat the US-backed government and reintroduce strict Islamic law with peace talks, met little resistance when they marched into Aibak on Monday.

A spokesman for the group’s political office told Al Jazeera TV on Tuesday that the group was committed to the Doha negotiation route and did not want it to collapse.

Taliban troops now control 65% of Afghanistan, threaten to capture eleven provincial capitals and seek to strip Kabul of its traditional support from the national armed forces in the north, a senior European Union official said on Tuesday.

The government has withdrawn from hard-to-defend rural districts to focus on maintaining population centers. Officials have called for pressure on Pakistan to stop Taliban reinforcements and supplies across the border. Pakistan denies supporting the Taliban.

The United States has launched some air strikes to aid government forces. Defense Department spokesman John Kirby (NYSE 🙂 said the attacks had a “kinetic” effect on the Taliban but admitted restrictions.

“Nobody here has said that air strikes are a panacea that will solve all conditions on the ground. We never said that,” said Kirby.

Displaced families

The Taliban and government officials confirmed that the Islamist insurgents have overrun six provincial capitals in the north, west and south in the past few days.

Gulam Bahauddin Jailani, head of the national disaster relief agency, told Reuters that fighting was taking place in 25 out of 34 provinces and 60,000 families had been displaced in the past two months, most of whom had sought refuge in Kabul.

Six EU member states warned the bloc’s executive branch against stopping the deportation of rejected Afghan asylum seekers in Europe, fearing a possible recurrence of the 2015-16 crisis due to the arrival of more than a million migrants, mostly from the Middle East.

UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said reports were surfacing of injuries that could amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity, including “deeply worrying reports” of the summary execution of surrendering government forces.

“People rightly fear that a Taliban seizure of power will undo the human rights successes of the past two decades,” said Bachelet.

The Taliban, displaced after the 9/11 attacks on the United States, appeared to be able to advance on Mazar-i-Sharif from various directions. His overthrow would deal a devastating blow to Ghani’s government.

Atta Mohammad Noor, a commander of the northern militia, vowed that there would be “resistance to the last drop of my blood.” He added on Twitter: “I would rather die with dignity than die in despair.”

Washington will complete its troop withdrawal later this month in return for Taliban’s pledges to prevent Afghanistan from being used for international terrorism. The Taliban promised not to attack foreign troops as they withdrew, but did not agree to a ceasefire with the government.

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