"After violent clashes late last night, the Taliban took control of Kandahar city," a government official told Reuters today.
As NATO and US forces conduct a coordinated withdrawal after 20 years of presence in Afghanistan, the Taliban have taken control of Kandahar and Herat, the country's second and third largest cities, respectively. This is, according to Reuters, a "devastating setback for the government".
"After violent clashes late last night, the Taliban took control of Kandahar city," a government official told Reuters.
CBN News reports the words of an Afghan journalist, who claims that Taliban soldiers go door to door to take young girls, from the age of 12, into the fighters' sex slaves.
"The worst will be for the girls," confirms Pashtana Zalmai Khan Durrani, 23, director of the NGO "Learn", which promotes the education of young girls. She witnessed the capture of her city, Kandahar. “The Taliban have taken over almost everything here, […] nobody dares to go out,” she explains.
“The clashes started at night, much more intense than the previous days. The army and security forces offered no resistance. They provided no protection to the population, which was caught in the middle of the crossfire. Only the police confronted the Taliban. "
And in this chaos, civilians, who had left other towns that had fallen into the hands of the insurgents in the previous days, arrived in Kandahar. Pashtana Zalmai Khan Durrani continues:
“They had come here to find refuge. They camp in the streets, seated on the ground, under the trees. [..] We delivered as much food as possible: flour, beans, sugar, whatever we could find at affordable prices. And water too, because it is extremely hot. Other NGOs followed suit, as a humanitarian crisis was already looming in the city and the government was unable to help all of the displaced. And, to be honest, the government was too corrupt to do that. "
Among the fleeing populations, Christian families. They are trying to "get ahead of the Taliban," as Todd Nettleton of the Voice of the Martyrs organization explains.
“Many Afghan Christians are also leaving. They move to some neighboring countries and others in the country move to another city, moving to another part of the country to try and get ahead of the Taliban. "
Faced with this advance by the Taliban insurgents, who now control most of the north, west and south of the country, the United States and England will send troops to evacuate staff from their embassies.
The Taliban claimed control over two of Afghanistan's biggest cities, according to media reports, as the United States and Britain said they would send thousands of troops to help evacuate their embassy staff https://t.co/F3qPUGW3u9 pic.twitter.com/HdudrUVMWU
- Reuters (@Reuters) August 13
British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace explained in a statement:
“I authorized the deployment of additional military personnel to support the diplomatic presence in Kabul, help British nationals leave the country and support the relocation of former Afghan personnel who risked their lives serving alongside us. This is a long-planned process and it was important, given the current situation on the ground in Afghanistan, to make the decision to move to this phase. "
Image: Trent Inness / Shutterstock
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