UNITED STATES NEWS

Lawmaker says Taliban enter north Afghan provincial capital

Aug 7, 2021, 8:00 PM
Stranded people gather and wait to open the border which was closed by authorities, in Chaman, Paki...

Stranded people gather and wait to open the border which was closed by authorities, in Chaman, Pakistan, Saturday, Aug. 7, 2021. Chaman border crossing is one of busiest border crossings between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Thousands of Afghans and Pakistanis cross daily and a steady stream of trucks passes through, taking goods to land-locked Afghanistan from the Arabian Sea port city of Karachi in Pakistan. (AP Photo/Tariq Achakzai)

(AP Photo/Tariq Achakzai)

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Taliban fighters entered the capital of northern Afghanistan’s Jawzjan province Saturday, a provincial lawmaker said, after sweeping through nine of 10 districts in the province.

The government did not deny lawmaker Mohammad Karim Jawzjani’s claim that Taliban fighters had entered Sheberghan, but said the city had not fallen. If the city falls, it will be the second provincial capital in as many days to succumb to the Taliban. Several other of the country’s 34 provincial capitals are threatened.

On Friday, the Taliban took control of the southwestern Nimroz provincial capital of Zaranj, where the government says it is still battling insurgents inside the capital.

Sheberghan is particularly strategic because it is the stronghold of U.S-allied Uzbek warlord Rashid Dostum, whose militias are among those resurrected to aid the Afghan National Security and Defense Forces.

Heavy airstrikes were reported by residents of Sheberghan who also said the Taliban had freed prisoners from the city jail. They requested to remain anonymous fearing retaliation from both sides.

Taliban fighters have swept through large swathes of Afghanistan at surprising speed, initially taking districts, many in remote areas. In recent weeks they have laid siege to several provincial capitals across the country as the last U.S. and NATO troops leave the country. The U.S. Central Command says the withdrawal is more than 95% complete and will be finished by Aug. 31.

The U.S. Air Force continues to aid the Afghan air force’s bombing of Taliban targets in southern Helmand and Kandahar provinces as Afghan security forces try to prevent a Taliban takeover.

On Saturday, the U.S. and British embassies in Kabul repeated a warning to its citizens still there to leave “immediately” as the security situation deteriorated.

The U.S. Embassy in Kabul also issued a statement Saturday condemning the Taliban’ s military onslaught saying it was contrary to the insurgent group’s claim to support a negotiated peace settlement.

The statement called for an immediate end to fighting and a start to “negotiations to end the suffering of the Afghan people and pave the way for an inclusive political settlement that benefits all Afghans and ensures that Afghanistan does not again serve as a safe haven for terrorists.”

On Friday, Taliban fighters assassinated Dawa Khan Menapal, the chief of the Afghan government’s press operations for local and foreign media. It came just days after a coordinated attempt was made to kill acting defense chief Bismillah Khan Mohammadi in a posh and deeply secure neighborhood of the capital.

In a report to the U.N. Security Council on Friday the U.N. envoy for Afghanistan urged the council to demand the Taliban immediately stop attacking cities in their offensive to take more territory.

Deborah Lyons also called on the international community to urge both sides to stop fighting and negotiate to prevent a “catastrophe” in the war-torn country.

In Afghanistan’s Helmand and Kandahar provinces in the south of the country thousands of Afghans were displaced by the fighting and living in miserable conditions.

In Helmand’s provincial capital of Lashkar Gah, Afghanistan’s elite commando forces aided by regular troops were trying to dislodge the Taliban but with little success, said Nafeeza Faiez, a provincial council member. Taliban are in control of nine of the city’s 10 police districts.

Faiez said conditions for residents are desperate as they hunker down inside their homes, unable to get supplies or get to hospitals for treatment. Many of the public buildings have also been badly damaged in the fighting.

“People have no access to any service,” she said

More than half of Afghanistan’s 421 districts and district centers are now in Taliban hands. While many are in remote regions, some are extremely strategic, giving the Taliban control of lucrative border crossings with Iran, Tajikistan and Pakistan.

The insurgent force on Friday closed one of the country’s most lucrative borders with Pakistan at Spin Boldak in southeastern Afghanistan. The Taliban were protesting a demand from Pakistan that all Afghans crossing the border must have Afghan passports and Pakistani visas.

The group said Pakistan was implementing the demands of the Afghan government and demanded that previous procedures in which identities were rarely checked as people crossed the border be reinstituted.

Thousands of Afghans and Pakistanis cross the border daily and a steady stream of trucks passes through, bringing goods to land-locked Afghanistan from the Arabian Sea port city of Karachi in Pakistan.

Hundreds of people were waiting Saturday to pass through and more than 600 trucks, many loaded with perishable fresh foods, were backed up in both countries.

Islamabad’s relationship with Kabul has been troubled, with both sides accusing each other of harboring militants. Afghan Taliban leaders live in Pakistan and Kabul is bitterly critical of Pakistan for aiding them and treating their fighters in hospitals in Pakistan. Islamabad meanwhile charges that Kabul provides a safe haven to the Pakistani Taliban, a separate militant group that regularly stages attacks in Pakistan.

___

Gannon reported from Islamabad.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Lifetime Windows & Doors

United States News

Associated Press

11 turkey farm workers charged with cruelty caught on video

Eleven people working for one of the nation’s leading turkey producers have been charged with animal cruelty in Pennsylvania after state police said they were caught on video kicking, stomping and beating turkeys at several farms. The workers were responsible for capturing and crating turkeys destined for slaughter, Pennsylvania State Police said Thursday. They launched […]
7 hours ago
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet speaks during the opening of the 41th ses...
Associated Press

UN rights body rejects Western bid to debate Xinjiang abuses

GENEVA (AP) — In a close diplomatic victory for China, the U.N.’s top human rights body on Thursday voted down a proposal from Britain, Turkey, the United States and other mostly Western countries to hold a debate on alleged rights abuses against Muslim Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in China’s western Xinjiang region. At the […]
7 hours ago
Hiring sign is displayed in Deerfield, Ill., Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022. The number of Americans fil...
Associated Press

US applications for jobless benefits increased last week

WASHINGTON (AP) — More Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, the largest number in four months, but the labor market remains strong in the face of persistent inflation and a slowing overall U.S. economy. Jobless claims for the week ending Oct. 1 rose by 29,000 to 219,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday. The previous […]
7 hours ago
FILE - Cherelle Griner, wife of WNBA star Brittney Griner, speaks during a news conference in Chica...
Associated Press

Brittney Griner at ‘weakest moment’ in Russia, her wife says

WASHINGTON (AP) — WNBA star Brittney Griner is at her “absolute weakest moment in life right now” as she faces a hearing in Russia later this month for her appeal of a nine-year prison sentence for drug possession, Griner’s wife said in an interview aired Thursday. Cherelle Griner told CBS “This Morning” that her wife, […]
7 hours ago
Associated Press

Sheriff: Dogs attack family in Tennessee, 2 children killed

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Two young children were killed and their mother was hospitalized after two family dogs attacked them at their home in Tennessee, officials said. The dogs attacked a 2-year-old girl, a 5-month-old boy and their mother Wednesday afternoon in the home located north of Memphis near Shelby Forest State Park, the Shelby […]
7 hours ago
Associated Press

To fill teacher jobs, community colleges offer new degrees

In her second-grade classroom outside Seattle, Fatima Nuñez Ardon often tells her students stories about everyday people realizing their dreams. One day, for example, she talked about Salvadoran American NASA astronaut Francisco Rubio and his journey to the International Space Station. Another day, she told them her own life story — how she, an El […]
7 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
SCHWARTZ LASER EYE CENTER

Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
...
Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
Lawmaker says Taliban enter north Afghan provincial capital