Witnessing rise in US Airstrikes, Taliban retaliates with lethal attacks
The Taliban is stepping up its attack on provincial cities in response to the increasing airstrikes by the US as fighting has escalated in Herat, Lashkar Gah, and Kandahar, according to a report on Friday. Reuters spoke to three Taliban commanders, one of whom said that they will soon capture other cities.
Taliban violence meanwhile continues unabated in Afghanistan as several videos and images on social media showed those injured, including children. Experts have stated that the loss of Kandahar and Herat, Afghanistan’s second-and third-largest cities by population, would be a major blow to the government. According to them, it could potentially trigger major realignments in favor of the Taliban.
“Mullah Yaqoob argued that when the US didn’t fulfill their commitment, why should Taliban be made to follow the accord?” one of the commanders, based in Kandahar, told Reuters on the condition of anonymity. The commander was referring to the Taliban’s military chief. “Mullah Yaqoob has decided to capture Kandahar and Herat and now Helmand and then it could be Kunduz, Khost or any other province,” the commander said.
The Taliban’s offensive activities have gone up since April when US President Joe Biden announced troops would withdraw by September. Herat, Kandahar and Lashkar Gar have seen sustained attacks by the Taliban, and scores of civilians have been killed in these areas.
“The people of Balkhab are always ready, they will act against all aggressors including the Taliban,” a resident of Sar-e-Pul province was quoted. “It indicates that the people support ANDSDF and they are tired of the war, this is totally a people’s movement,” Fawad Raiskhel said in Kabul.
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