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Taliban press on, capture fifth provincial capital in Afghanistan

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Taliban forces have, yet again, captured another city in Afghanistan, making it the fifth provincial capital in the war-torn country to fall under the control of the armed group.

The city of Taloquan, the capital of Takhar Province in northeastern Afghanistan, is the latest in a string of Taliban victories that come as foreign forces, led by the United States, complete their withdrawal from the country.

Confirming the development in a statement on Monday, Muhammad Naeem Wardak, spokesman for the Taliban’s political bureau, warned the US against further intervention in Afghanistan.

“The Afghani government is the one who chose to start the war in different provinces.

“The measures that (the) Taliban took were in response and reaction to the government attacks and actions ” Wardak said.

Beginning from Friday, the Taliban has seized four cities in Afghanistan in sustained operations that has seen a string of victories come their way.

The first provincial capital, Zaranj, near the Iranian border, fell to the Taliban on Friday. The next, Sherberghan, near the Turkmenistan border, fell on Saturday.

READ ALSO: Taliban forces capture another Afghan city

The insurgents then seized Kunduz, a strategically important provincial capital in northern Afghanistan, on Sunday, making it the first major city to fall to the Taliban since it began its offensive in May.

Also on Sunday, Taliban forces overran the provincial capital city of Sar-e-Pul in the country’s north.

The US Embassy in Kabul has criticized the Taliban’s offensive on Afghan cities, saying its actions to “forcibly impose its rule are unacceptable and contradict its claim to support a negotiated settlement in the Doha peace process.

“They demonstrate wanton disregard for the welfare and rights of civilians and will worsen this country’s humanitarian crisis,” the embassy said.

The Taliban have seized the city of Taloquan in northeastern Afghanistan, marking the fifth provincial capital to fall under their control in just a matter of days, a local journalist confirmed to CNN on Monday.

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