Farah City, Pul-i-Khumri fall to the Taliban

The Taliban’s all-out assault in northern and western Afghanistan resulted Tuesday in control of two additional provincial capitals in Farah and Baghdad provinces. That marks eight provincial capitals – six in the north and two in the west – that have fallen under Taliban control in five days.

The Taliban now fully controls four provinces: Farah, Jawzjan, Nimruz, and Takhar.

Taliban fighters entered Farah City earlier Tuesday and seized control of the governor’s compound, the police headquarters, and the city prison, Al Jazeera reported. Afghan journalist Bilal Sarwary reported that security forces at the headquarters of the National Directorate of Security are “resisting.” But given the images coming from the Farah City, it clearly is under Taliban control. The bulk of the Afghan security forces have retreated to the airport, which is south of the city.

The Taliban now controls all 11 districts in Farah province, including its capital, Farah City.

The Taliban seized Pul-i-Khumri, the capital of Baghlan province today after launching a major attack on the city yesterday. “Anti-Taliban militias had abandoned the city” and fled to Andarab because they “had not received reinforcements or air power,” Baghlan’s deputy governor told Sarwary.

Eight of Afghanistan’s 34 provincial capitals have fallen to the Taliban in less than a week.

On Aug. 6, Zaranj, the capital of the southwestern province of Nimruz, was lost after the governor and security forces abandoned the city. The next day, on Aug. 7, the Taliban seized control of Shibirghan, the capital of the northern province of Jawzjan. The following day, on Aug. 8, the Taliban overran the capitals of Kunduz, Sar-i-Pul, and Takhar provinces, also in the north. On Aug. 9, the Taliban took control of Aybak in Samangan.

The Afghan government continues to pour its most effective and limited resources – the Air Force and Commandos – to defend cities such as Lashkar Gah and Kandahar City, and has largely left the northern and western provinces to fend for themselves, with the exception of the cities of Herat City and Mazar-i-Sharif. However, the Taliban is pressing offensives against these two cities and others, such as Faizabad in Badakhshan, where the Taliban has pushed outskirts and is threatening to enter the city limits.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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