Afghan Army chief replaced as Taliban seize more cities

Army chief replaced as Taliban seize more cities
People have been sleeping on the streets in Kabul and in makeshift camps after fleeing their homes. Source: Reuters
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Daily US Times: The army chief of Afghanistan is replaced, as Taliban continues to make rapid advances.

The Taliban militants have taken control of 10 of the country’s 34 provincial capitals.

The group said on Thursday that they had taken the strategically important Ghazni city, which is on the road to the country’s capital Kabul.

On Wednesday, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani flew to the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif – traditionally an anti-Taliban establishment – to try to rally pro-government forces.

The removal of Afghanistan’s army chief, General Wali Mohammad Ahmadzai, was confirmed on Wednesday. Mr Ahmadzai had only been in the post since June.

His successor will have to deal with Taliban’s aggressive approach to take more and more lands and escalating violence across the country.

US and other international troops have all but withdrawn following 20 years of military operations in the country.

In the past month, more than 1,000 civilians have been killed in Afghanistan, according to the United Nations.

Also on Wednesday, President Ashraf Ghani held crisis talks in Mazar-i-Sharif with prominent ethnic Tajik leader Atta Mohammad Noor and ethnic Uzbek warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum about defending the city.

Mr Dostum, a veteran commander, said: “The Taliban have come to the north several times but they were always trapped.”

For years, the Afghan president tried to sideline the warlords in an attempt to boost the Afghan National Army, and now he is turning to them in his hour of need.

The president also agreed earlier this week to arm pro-government militia.

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