World Curfew across Afghanistan as Taliban advances
Taliban see battlefield dominance as path to political, diplomatic power
With US forces largely gone from the battlefield, the Taliban have conducted a staggering, land-grabbing offensive that appears aimed at forcing the Afghan government to sue for peace on the insurgents' terms or suffer complete military defeat. The strategy appears to be aimed at achieving multiple goals -- exhausting the country's overstretched air force and commando units, and depriving Kabul of much needed revenue. It has also cut the central government off from the traditionally anti-Taliban strongholds it relies on for backing. "The most surprising thing about the Taliban's offensive is its focus on the north and west.
The Afghan government imposed a curfew across almost all of the country on Saturday in an attempt to stop the Taliban from invading cities.
Aside from the capital Kabul and two other provinces, no movement will be allowed between 22:00 and 04:00.
Fighting between the Taliban and Afghan government forces has escalated over the past two months as international troops withdraw from the country.
The militant group is estimated to have captured up to half of all territory.
It has moved swiftly in the wake of the US withdrawal from the country, retaking border crossings and other territory in rural areas.
Taliban leader ‘favours political settlement’ to Afghan conflict
Announcement comes amid group’s military advances and as peace talks between Afghan gov’t and Taliban resume in Doha.The announcement on Sunday comes as representatives of the Afghan government and Taliban armed fighters sat down for a new round of talks in Doha over the weekend, stirring hopes that the long-stalled peace talks were being resuscitated.
The Taliban - a fundamentalist Islamist militia who were pushed out of power by the US invasion nearly 20 years ago - has also seized key roads as it seeks to cut off supply routes.
Its fighters have been closing in on a number of major cities, but have not yet been able to capture one.
Video: Foreign missions in Afghanistan call for Taliban ceasefire (Reuters)
"To curb violence and limit the Taliban movements a night curfew has been imposed in 31 provinces," the interior ministry said in a statement, adding that Kabul, Panjshir and Nangarhar were exempt.
As the Taliban continues to advance, fierce clashes have taken place this week on the outskirts of the city of Kandahar.
In response, the US launched airstrikes against militant positions in the area on Thursday. But with US operations in Afghanistan officially due to end on 31 August, there are concerns about the months ahead.
Russia to Conduct Mock Air Raids Near Afghanistan Border, Says No Real Strikes Planned
"You are confusing us with the Americans or the experience that we 'carried over' from the Soviet times," Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.The Russian Defense Ministry stated Thursday that Su-25SM attack aircraft of the Central Military District's aviation fleet based in allied Kyrgyzstan were set to take part in joint Russian-Uzbek aerial exercises from July 30 to August 20. The ministry said that the "practical part of the training event will take place at the Termez training ground in the area bordering Afghanistan.
US-led forces ousted the Taliban from power in Afghanistan in October 2001. The group had been harbouring Osama Bin Laden and other al-Qaeda figures linked to the 11 September attacks on the US.
President Biden has said the American pull-out is justified as US forces have made sure Afghanistan cannot again become a base for foreign jihadists to plot against the West.
Earlier this month, American troops quietly departed from Bagram airfield, a sprawling base that was the centre of US operations in Afghanistan and once held tens of thousands of troops.
Some US intelligence analysts fear the Taliban could seize control of the country within six months, according to an assessment distributed to officials in June.
Taliban admits to killing Afghan comic, to try alleged killers .
Nazar Mohammad’s body was found in Kandahar province after a video showed he was abused by two gunmen in a car.A video of two men slapping and abusing Nazar Mohammad, better known as Khasha Zwan, spread widely on social media. He was later killed, shot multiple times. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid acknowledged that the two men were Taliban.