Guwahati News Desk: In the early part of Sunday, the Taliban seized the city of Jalalabad, the last major city standing besides Kabul, leaving Afghanistan’s central government in control of just the capital and seven other provincial capitals.
The seizing of Jalalabad comes amidst rapid gains by the Taliban over the last week, pressuring Afghanistan’s central government as US, British and Canadian forces rush troops in to help their diplomatic staffs still there.
A lawmaker from the province, Abrarullah Murad, informed the media that the insurgents seized Jalalabad after elders negotiated the fall of the government there.
Murad also added that there was no fighting as the city surrendered.
Moreover, the militants posted photos online early Sunday showing them in the governor’s office in Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar province.
President Ashraf Ghani, who spoke to the nation Saturday for the first time since the offensive began, appears increasingly isolated as well. Warlords he negotiated with just days earlier have surrendered to the Taliban, leaving Ghani without a military option. Ongoing negotiations in Qatar, the site of a Taliban office, also have failed to stop the insurgents’ advance as thousands of civilians flee into Kabul.
As per the sources, the US has continued holding peace talks between the government and the Taliban in Qatar this week, and the international community has warned that a Taliban government brought about by force would be shunned. But the insurgents appear to have little interest in making concessions as they rack up victories on the battlefield.
Ashraf Ghani said, “We have started consultations, inside the government with elders and political leaders, representatives of different levels of the community as well as our international allies…Soon the results will be shared with you.”
Meanwhile, tens of thousands of Afghans have fled their homes, with many fearing a return to the Taliban’s oppressive rule. The group had previously governed Afghanistan under a harsh version of Islamic law in which women were forbidden to work or attend school, and could not leave their homes without a male relative accompanying them.
Photo | Representative Image