World Taliban close to taking Afghan province of Uruzgan where Australian troops served
Added to a Taliban kill list, Afghan interpreters hired by Australia fear Western withdrawal
Afghan interpreters hired by the Australian Defence Force risk death as they wait years for their visas to be approved.Nasir Sabiry wishes he never became an interpreter.
The Afghan province where Australian troops served for close to a decade could be the first to fall back under Taliban control as foreign militaries withdraw from the war-torn country.
Fierce fighting between government forces and Taliban insurgents is continuing across Uruzgan Province with both sides claiming to have inflicted heavy casualties against each other.
Military and Afghan analysts believe the Taliban now controls five of the six districts in Uruzgan Province, while the provisional capital of Tarin Kot is considered contested.
'With masters defeated, the slaves can't fight': Taliban eye victory after US exit
'With masters defeated, the slaves can't fight': Taliban eye victory after US exitUnprecedented peace talks between the insurgents and Afghan government continue to flutter, and as violence rages across Afghanistan, militants claim to have taken nearly 30 districts since the US began its final troop withdrawal in early May.
"The city is coming under a lot of pressure from the Taliban and one would not be surprised if Tarin Kot falls to the Taliban, and that would be the first provincial capital that the Taliban has taken over," said Afghanistan expert Professor Amin Saikal.
"There is fighting going on in a number of provinces right now in the country and one could expect the fighting to intensify as we approach the withdrawal of foreign forces by the 11th of September."
On Tuesday, the Taliban's propaganda service Alemarah boasted it had taken control of the administration centre, police headquarters, defensive check posts and other installations in the Khas Uruzgan district.
"All the puppet personnel of the district and post fled to a mercenary camp in the area where the enemy is still under siege by the Mujahideen," the Alemarah website claimed.
'Sangorians' take a page from insurgent playbook in fight against Taliban
They name themselves after a Turkish soap opera, count former Taliban insurgents among their ranks and dress like their enemies, but the shadowy "Sangorians" militiamen are among the fiercest forces on the Afghan battlefield. Enter the Sangorians, who took their name from a popular Turkish television serial about undercover operatives, and whom local media reports say the Taliban particularly loathe as many of the militiamen were former insurgents.
"Numerous ammunitions and weapons were seized by Mujahidin as well."
At the same time, Afghanistan's Defence Force tweeted that it had killed dozens of Taliban "terrorists" over recent days.
"Twenty-six Taliban terrorists were killed and 28 others were wounded in an operation conducted by Afghan National Defense and Security Forces with support from the Afghan Air Force in Chora district [on Tuesday]," the Afghanistan Ministry of Defence said on Wednesday.
"Also, some amount of their weapons and ammunition were destroyed."
In 2006, the Australian Defence Force deployed its first Reconstruction Task Force to Uruzgan, and in 2008 a Mentoring and Reconstruction Task Force began work in the province.
At the end of 2013, then-prime minister Tony Abbott announced the last Australian troops had left Uruzgan province, while 400 military personnel would remain in Afghanistan in training and support roles, mainly in Kabul and Kandahar.
Afghan President Ghani to meet Biden as violence surges
US president to discuss troop withdrawal with his Afghan counterpart amid a surge in fighting across Afghanistan.In their first face-to-face meeting, Biden will seek to reassure Ghani and Abdullah of US support for the Afghan people including diplomatic, economic and humanitarian assistance, the White House said in a statement on Sunday. Biden will also repeat his pledge to ensure that the country never becomes a safe haven for armed groups.
US President Joe Biden announced in April thatfrom May 1, with US and allied forces to completely depart no later than September 11 this year.
Over recent weeks,and other local staff who worked with Australian forces but remain in Afghanistan, following death threats from the Taliban.
Earlier this month, Australia's Chief of Defence General Angus Campbell told Parliament the Afghanistan war would not be resolved militarily, but dismissed claims the Taliban could overrun the war-torn country once international troops left.
"I do not think that the situation is at all assured in terms of the Taliban's claimed ascendance — or that they seek to claim," he said.
"I think this is very much going to be a negotiated settlement."
Where things stand for Afghanistan as Ghani visits Washington .
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani begins a visit to Washington Thursday at a time the Taliban are making huge advances across the country. - The Taliban have capitalised on the final stages of the US troop withdrawal and have made huge advances across the country, claiming control of over 80 of the country's 421 districts.There are fears that already-demoralised Afghan security forces will be swiftly overrun when the remaining American troops withdraw. And peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government remain stalled.