Fighting rages as Taliban besiege three key cities in Afghanistan

Fighting rages as Taliban besiege three key cities
Fighting is reported to be taking place in a number of locations in Herat. Source: EPA
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Daily US Times: Fighting is raging around three major cities in the western and southern part of Afghanistan as Taliban seek to seize them from government forces.

Taliban fighters have entered parts of Lashkar Gah, Kandahar and Herat.

The militant group has made rapid gains in rural areas since it was announced almost all foreign soldiers would go by September.

But the fate of these key cities could be crucial as fears of a humanitarian crisis in the war-torn country and how long government forces will be able to hold out.

Taliban is already thought to have captured up to half of all Afghanistan’s territory, including lucrative border crossings with Pakistan and Iran.

Insurgents were reportedly only a few hundred metres from the governor’s office in Lashkar Gah on Saturday – but had been pushed back by nightfall.

It was their second such attempt in as many days and the commander of Afghan forces said they had inflicted significant casualties on the Taliban militants on Friday.

One MP in Kandahar said the city was at serious risk of falling to the Taliban, with a humanitarian disaster looming and tens of thousands of people already displaced.

Gul Ahmad Kamin said fighting within the city was the most severe in 20 years and the situation was getting worse hour by hour.

He said the Taliban now saw Kandahar as a major focal point. Taliban wants to make the city their temporary capital. Mr Kamin said, if it fell, then five or six other provinces in the region would also be lost.

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