The dismantling of the military bases of the USA and its allies has not yet been completed, and the Taliban are already taking advantage of the resulting security vacuum. After fighting, they take control of two districts. Neighboring Pakistan is trying to prevent a new civil war with mediation attempts.
While international troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, the militant Islamist Taliban are making further military progress. They captured two more districts in two different provinces, several local officials and members of parliament confirmed Friday. According to the report, Schenkai district in Zabul province in the south of the country fell to the Islamists after about a week of fighting. The Taliban had cut off all supply routes for security forces before overrunning the district, two provincial councils said.
In Urusgan province in the south of the country, Gisab district came under Taliban control, two provincial councilors from neighboring Daikundi province said. They said the fighting began on Thursday and security forces fled on Friday. A member of parliament from Urusgan confirmed Gisab’s case. Initially, there were no reports of casualties.
There were also heavy clashes elsewhere. In Gasni province in the southeast, Deh Jak district was on the verge of falling to the Taliban after heavy military pressure on security forces there. In Farsi district in Herat province, at least nine police officers were killed in clashes on Friday, according to local officials.
U.S. army confirms killing of 23 civilians
Since the official withdrawal of U.S. and other NATO troops from Afghanistan began May 1, the Taliban have launched several offensives in the country. Security forces have been able to repel some, but elsewhere they are under heavy pressure. Observers suspect that these attacks are just the beginning of the Taliban’s annual offensive. A total of six districts have now fallen to the Islamists since early May.
The withdrawal of international soldiers from Afghanistan is to be completed by Sept. 11 at the latest. The U.S. military had said this week it estimated about 30 to 44 percent of the total process had been completed.
Pakistan fears a new civil war in the neighboring country and wants to use the time until the complete withdrawal of international troops for mediation. The leadership in Islamabad will try to reach a political solution to the power struggle between the Afghan government and the radical Islamic Taliban in time, Prime Minister Imran Khan said. However, it will not be easy to persuade the Taliban to make concessions, he said. That’s because the extremists believe they have won the war since the U.S. announced a troop withdrawal by Sept. 11, he said. Should there be a new civil war in Afghanistan and a refugee crisis, Pakistan would also suffer greatly and his country could be forced to intervene.