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Three more Afghan provincial capitals fall to Taliban

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In another round of onslaught, Taliban forces seized three more provincial capitals in Afghanistan, its media report said on Wednesday.

The recent capture of strategic cities in the war-torn country put nine of the nation’s 34 provinces in the insurgents’ hands a few weeks after the withdrawal of United States troops from the country.

Media reports state that the fall of the capitals of Badakhshan and Baghlan provinces to the northeast and Farah province to the west has put increasing pressure on the country’s central government to stem the tide of the advance.

While Kabul itself has not been directly threatened in the advance, the Taliban offensive continues to stretch Afghan security forces now largely fighting against the insurgents on their own.

READ ALSO: Taliban takes complete control of Afghan north as residents hide indoors

A lawmaker from Kheradmand, Hujatullah Kheradmand, who confirmed the fall of the province to journalists, said the Taliban had taken over his province while the people have become helpless as the government security forces have become helpless.

The insurgents had earlier captured six other provincial capitals in the country in less than a week, including Kunduz in Kunduz province, one of the country’s largest cities.

After a 20-year Western military mission and billions of dollars spent training and shoring up Afghan forces, many are at odds to explain why the regular forces have collapsed, fleeing the battle sometimes by the hundreds.

The success of the Taliban blitz has added urgency to the need to restart the long-stalled talks in Qatar that could end the fighting and move Afghanistan toward an inclusive interim administration but the insurgents have so far refused to return to the negotiating table.

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