Afganistan crisis: Taliban takes control of Kandahar, Heart in rapid advance

The terrorist group now controls 12 of Afghanistan's 34 provinces in their entirety, it added.
Afganistan crisis: Taliban takes control of Kandahar, Heart in rapid advance
A Taliban fighter stands guard at the entrance of the police headquarters in Ghazni on August 12, 2021, as Taliban move closer to Afghan capital after taking Ghazni city.

Afganistan’s rapidly advancing Taliban insurgents have taken over over Afghanistan's second-biggest city – Kandahar.

The city was reportedly seized on late Thursday as the Taliban continues to step up their offensive amid US troops' withdrawal. The pullout was stipulated in the deal the Taliban and the US agreed upon in Doha in February last year.

The Taliban have claimed the seizure of 12 out of Afghanistan’s 34 provincial capitals.

On Thursday, the Taliban claimed to have captured Heart in the Western region, Afganistan’s third-largest city after Kabul and Kandahar. It also captured strategically important Ghazni City, the capital of a southeastern Afghan province with the same name.

The Taliban began its offensive in May and swiftly began seizing key districts. More than 160 districts have fallen, in addition to an estimated 73 districts that were controlled by the Taliban before the offensive began, Long War Journal reported.

The terrorist group now controls 12 of Afghanistan's 34 provinces in their entirety, it added.

Meanwhile, a group of participants in the Afghan peace talks that took place in Doha, Qatar, issued a joint statement on Thursday, calling for accelerating the peace process between the government of Afghanistan and the Taliban.

"Participants agreed that the peace process needs to be accelerated as a matter of great urgency based on the negotiations of concrete proposals from both sides," the joint statement said.

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