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The Taliban is trying its best to distract Kabul from the defense of the capitals of the southern Kandahar and Helmand provinces as well as in western Herat, which it has been trying to take over for several weeks now. The group has stepped up attacks on cities throughout northern Afghanistan, so far successfully.
Afghan National Security Forces claimed counter-offensive operations in the cities as Taliban militants mount around the outskirts, and civilians are fleeing the areas.
People suffer not only from the clashes, but also from regular air strikes on targets inside the cities, as Taliban militants often hide in civilian settlements. On August 8, a Helmand provincial council member said government air attacks had damaged a health clinic and a high school in Lashkar Gah.
At the very moment when the government forces are mainly concentrated on the protection of the large southern cities, the Taliban wastes no time and takes control over other provincial capitals one by one
The first provincial capital came under the Taliban’s control on August 6th. The city of Zaranj in Afghanistan’s western Nimruz province, located on the border with Iran and Pakistan fell almost without a fight. Taliban fighters entered the city in U.S. Humvee vehicles taken from the Afghan forces. They’re now used to patrol the streets of Zaranj.
The next day, the city of Sheberghan in northern Jawzjan province became the second provincial capital to be taken by the Taliban. According to the deputy governor, government forces and officials had retreated to the airport on the outskirts of the city, where they were preparing to defend themselves.
On August 7th, the Taliban launched an advance in the city of Kunduz in north-eastern Afghanistan.According to local reports, the Afghan security forces retreated to the airport area, preparing for a counter-offensive.
Even the air support from the U.S. failed to prevent the loss of the city. U.S. B-52s bombed targets in Kunduz, starting major fires. During the day of fighting,