Kandahar, which is in the south of the country, has been under siege by the Taliban for weeks, with many observers viewing its fall as the beginning of the end for the country’s government backed by the United States.
In a statement released on Friday, the Taiban said they had taken control of the governor’s office, police headquarters, and other key operational centers across the city. “Hundreds of weapons, vehicles and ammunition were seized,” according to the Taliban statement.
Kamin said he and many others went to a military base near the city’s international airport and were waiting for a flight. “Many (government) soldiers surrendered and the rest fled,” Kamin said.
Kamin had previously told CNN that Taliban fighters had succeeded in breaking through the city’s front line and were engaging in sporadic clashes with government forces.
The vast majority of the Taliban’s territorial gains have come since the withdrawal of US forces, which began in May and is expected to end in late August.
Taliban advance rapidly
The city of Herat, Afghanistan’s third-largest city and a major urban center in western Afghanistan, fell to the Taliban on Thursday evening local time as the group took control of the governor’s office and police headquarters in Herat, Afghan officials said.
The town of Qala-I-Naw, the provincial capital of the northwestern province of Badghis, also fell to the militant group on Thursday evening, a member of the Badghis provincial council confirmed to CNN.
The town of Ghazni, a key provincial capital on the road to Kabul, also fell to the militant group earlier Thursday after “long and intense fighting,” according to Nasir Ahmad Faqiri, head of the Ghazni provincial council.
Ghazni is located about 150 kilometers south of Kabul, on a major road connecting the capital to Kandahar.
With the capture of Ghazni, the Taliban now control key locations north and south of Kabul. Their earlier capture of areas of Baghlan province, located north of Kabul, alarmed US officials as the location is seen as critical for the defense of the capital.
A senior Biden administration official with knowledge of a US intelligence assessment said Kabul could be isolated by the Taliban within the next 30 to 60 days, raising the potential that the Afghan capital could soon fall under the group’s control. activist.
In response to the massive advance of the Taliban, the United States announced that it would deploy 3,000 American troops in Kabul to help with a “reduction of civilian personnel at the Kabul embassy” and to “facilitate the processing of” special immigrant visas for Afghan nationals who assisted Americans during their stay in Afghanistan, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said.
Two of the infantry battalions headed to Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport are US Marines and one is the US military, Kirby said. The Department of Defense will also bring 1,000 additional members of the US military and US Air Force to help with visa applicants, Kirby said.
Earlier Thursday, the US Embassy in Kabul again urged US citizens to leave Afghanistan immediately.