World Curfew across Afghanistan as Taliban advances
Afghanistan's neighbors wary as US seeks nearby staging area
American diplomats are escalating a charm offensive with Central Asian leaders this week as they work to secure a close-by spot to respond to any resurgence of outside militants in Afghanistan after the U.S. military withdraws. American diplomats are escalating a charm offensive with Central Asian leaders this week as they work to secure a close-by spot to respond to any resurgence of outside militants in Afghanistan after the U.S. military withdraws.
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 offer three-month ceasefire in exchange for release of 7,000 prisoners
Afghan government negotiator Nader Nadery announced on Thursday that the Taliban offered the Afghan government a ceasefire in exchange for the release of thousands of captured Taliban fighters. © Provided by Washington Examiner The proposition comes in the wake of major Taliban gains over the course of this year, following the gradual withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country. In addition to the release of 7,000 prisoners, the Taliban also demand the removal of the names of several Taliban leaders from a United Nations blacklist, Nadery said, according to the BBC.
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.
"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.
Taliban say they want Afghan deal, even as they battle on
ISLAMABAD (AP) — The leader of the Taliban said Sunday that his movement is committed to a political settlement to end decades of war in Afghanistan, even as the insurgents battle in dozens of districts across to country to gain territory. The statement by Maulawi Hibatullah Alhundzada came as Taliban leaders were meeting with a high-level Afghan government delegation in the Gulf state of Qatar to jump-start stalled peace talks. The Kabul delegation includes the No. 2 in the government, Abdullah Abdullah, head of Afghanistan’s national reconciliation council.
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 push closer to front lines of two major Afghanistan cities .
The Taliban has started to make inroads in two of Afghanistan's major cities after they launched attacks at several airports on Saturday.Airports in the the second and fourth largest cities in the country, Kandahar and Herat, were struck by rockets launched by the insurgent group on Saturday, The Washington Post reported.The newspaper reported it is the first time that the Taliban has advanced in those two cities in almost 20 years.A Taliban spokesperson told Reuters on Saturday that at least three rockets struck an airport in Kandahar overnight.