Taliban claims seizing Kandahar, Afghanistan 2nd largest city

TEHRAN, Aug. 13 (MNA) – As the Taliban advances to take control of Afghanistan's key cities, it is claimed that the group has taken control of Herat, Badghis, Ghor, Helmand, and Kandahar provinces.

The Taliban has claimed to have taken Kandahar, Afghanistan’s second-biggest city.

Citing witnesses, the Associated Press reported the Taliban had seized the governor’s office and other buildings. The witnesses declined to be named publicly as the government had not yet acknowledged the defeat, Aljazeera reported.

Kandahar is completely conquered. The group reached Martyrs’ Square in the city, a Taliban spokesman tweeted on an officially-recognized account, AFP news agency reported, adding that a city resident confirmed the Taliban was in control of the city.

Reuters news agency later reported an unnamed government official saying the city, once a Taliban stronghold, had fallen but government forces remained in control of the airport.

Earlier, residents and local journalists reported Herat, the country’s third-largest city, had fallen to the armed group. Ghazni, about 130km (80 miles) southwest of the national capital, Kabul, also fell on Thursday.

The Taliban has taken at least 11 of Afghanistan’s 34 provincial capitals over the past week. If confirmed, Kandahar, a former Taliban stronghold, would be the 12th.

A local government official has told Reuters news agency that the Taliban have captured Kandahar.

“Following heavy clashes late last night the Taliban took control of Kandahar city,” a local government official told the news agency.

Government forces were still in control of Kandahar’s airport, which was the US military’s second-biggest base in Afghanistan during their 20 years in the country.

RHM/PR

News Code 177291

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