Afghanistan: Taliban captures Kandahar as clashes continue
The Taliban has captured Kandahar, Afghanistan's second-largest city, marking the latest jolt to the country's government in a matter of days, officials confirmed on Friday. The terror outfit is now in control of a major part of the nation as the United States and its allies look to complete the withdrawal of their troops after nearly two decades.
'Taliban took control of Kandahar city'
"Following heavy clashes late last night, the Taliban took control of Kandahar city," a government official said, according to Reuters. "Kandahar is completely conquered. The Mujahideen reached Martyrs' Square in the city," a Taliban spokesperson had tweeted, AFP reported. Before Kandahar, the insurgents had taken over Herat, the country's third-largest city. The Taliban has also seized 13 Afghan provincial capitals.
Government proposes power-sharing with the Taliban
Meanwhile, the Afghan government has offered a deal to share power with the Taliban in return for an end to the incessant violence taking place in the country. "The government has submitted a proposal to Qatar as mediator," a government negotiator told AFP.
US President Biden says he has no regrets about withdrawal
US President Joe Biden has said he does not regret the move to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, asserting that Afghan leaders will have to "fight for their nation." He added that his country had spent $1 trillion and lost thousands of soldiers over the past 20 years. The US and its allies had invaded Afghanistan in 2001 after the 9/11 attacks on American soil.
Over 1,000 civilians killed in recent clashes
More than 1,000 civilians have been killed in Afghanistan in the past month, according to the United Nations. In fact, tens of thousands have had to flee their homes to reach the relatively safer national capital, Kabul, living in makeshift camps, parks, and even streets.
US, UK, India rush to evacuate diplomats, citizens
Separately, the US and the United Kingdom are sending reinforcements to Kabul to help evacuate their diplomats, soldiers, citizens, as well as Afghans who have worked with them. Canada is also reportedly sending special forces to evacuate staff from its embassy in Kabul. India has also been urging its citizens to leave the war-torn country, sending special flights to bring them back.