Major northern Afghan city Mazar-i-Sharif falls to Taliban

TEHRAN, Aug. 15 (MNA) – The Taliban has captured Mazar-i-Sharif, a large, heavily defended city in northern Afghanistan.

The fall on Saturday of Mazar-i-Sharif, the country’s fourth-largest city, which Afghan forces and two powerful former strongmen had pledged to defend, hands the Taliban control over all of northern Afghanistan, confining the Western-backed government to the centre and east, Al-Jazeera reported.

Security forces from Mazar-i-Sharif were escaping towards the border, Afzal Hadid, head of the Balkh provincial council, told Reuters news agency.

“The Taliban have taken control of Mazar-i-Sharif,” he said. “All security forces have left Mazar city.” The city appeared to have fallen largely without a fight, although sporadic clashes were continuing nearby, he said.

The Taliban has made significant advances in recent days, including capturing Herat and Kandahar, the country’s second- and third-largest cities.

ZZ/PR

News Code 177353

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