In a heart wrenching development, Taliban militants have started entering the outskirts of the capital Kabul, the Afghan interior ministry said on Sunday. The officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity as they weren’t authorised to release the information, said there hadn’t been any fighting yet. The Taliban fighters were in the districts of Kalakan, Qarabagh and Paghman.
Amid a harsh Taliban offensive, the territory controlled by the Afghan government shrank further on Sunday as the Taliban took the provincial capital of Maidan Wardak, just west of Kabul. Earlier today, the key eastern city of Jalalabad fell without a fight. The fall of the last major city takes the insurgents closer to capturing the capital Kabul. The Taliban has also secured the roads connecting Afghanistan to Pakistan, a western official told Reuters.
In less than eight weeks, the hardliners have swept through the country taking all the major cities including Mazar-i-Sharif, Logar province, Kandahar, Herat among others. The takeover of cities in the last 24 hours has been virtually unopposed. As Taliban fighters entered Mazar-i-Sharif on Saturday, government security forces escaped to neighbouring Uzbekistan.
Meanwhile, thousands of civilians have streamed into Kabul, fleeing from the Taliban controlled areas. Hundreds of people have been displaced and are now staying homeless in the capital. Overcrowded tents and open areas with a lack of food and other amenities has become a common sight in the city.
In another development, the first American troops arrived in Kabul on Saturday to protect the capital and keep control of the airport. President Joe Biden authorized the deployment of 5,000 troops to help evacuate citizens and ensure an “orderly and safe” drawdown of US military personnel.
As Taliban tear through Afghanistan making seemingly inexorable advances, youngsters from the country residing in India are living with constant anxiety over the violence exploding back home.
Hundred of youngsters currently reside across India as students under India’s aid of human resource development and capacity building to Afghanistan. As part of this programme, India offers 1,000 educational scholarships to Afghan nationals each year with a 100 per cent utilisation in most years.
Farhad Haqyar, 25, has been here on a scholarship for the past two years now. He says he has renewed fears for his family in Kabul as Taliban inch closer to the Afghan capital. Hailing from a small province in Afghanistan, his family had shifted to Kabul a few years back for his father to easily work in the security wing of the Afghan government.
Karte Seh in west Kabul is home to the middle class, a dusty neighbourhood which has been mostly quiet since the mid-1990s when Mujahideen outfits, vying for control of the city, fought pitched battles in its lanes and streets.
But on Saturday, hours before the key northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif fell to the Taliban, Karte Seh was a beehive of activity, its peace shattered by Toyotas, some gleaming, most rickety, packing its roads. People came in droves, all headed to one building in the neighbourhood: Kabul’s main passport office. ( Indian Express )