Afghan Taliban overruns gov’t last bastion in northern Takhar province

Xinhua Xinhua

14th Aug, 2021. 02:17 pm

TALUQAN: Taliban have captured Warsaj district, the last bastion of the Afghan government in northern Takhar province and further consolidated their position in the northern region, an elder of the district Hajji Abdul Malik said on Saturday.

“Warsaj district collapsed to the Taliban fighters on Friday evening and the security forces based there retreated to Panjshir province,” Malik told Xinhua.

The Afghan government has yet to make comments.

Taliban, with capturing Warsaj district, have completed its grip on northern Takhar province.

In addition, the armed group, which captured 17 provinces over the past nine days, have been fighting to overrun northern Balkh provincial capital Mazar-i-Sharif and Faryab’s provincial capital Maimana to complete its grasp in Afghanistan’s northern provinces.  Enditem

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has also called on Taliban to immediately halt their offensive against government forces and return to the negotiating table in good faith, in the interest of Afghanistan, and its people.

The top UN official told reporters at the UN headquarters in New York that humanitarian needs were “growing by the hour” and the country largely spinning out of control.

“Even for a country that has tragically known generations of conflict, Afghanistan is in the throes of yet another chaotic and desperate chapter — an incredible tragedy for its long-suffering people,” he said, noting that more than 1,000 people have been killed or injured from indiscriminate attacks against civilians, notably in Helmand, Kandahar and Herat provinces, in just the past month.

The UN chief noted the fighting between Taliban and Afghan security forces for control of cities and towns, was “causing tremendous harm.”

“At least 241,000 people have been forced to flee from their homes … Hospitals are overflowing. Food and medical supplies are dwindling. Roads, bridges, schools, clinics and other critical infrastructure are being destroyed,” he added.

“Continued urban conflict will mean continued carnage,” he said, with civilians inevitably paying the highest price.

“I call on all parties to take heed of the conflict’s heavy toll and its devastating impact on civilians. They all must do more to protect civilians.”

Guterres said he was “deeply disturbed” by reports of the Taliban imposing severe restrictions on human rights in the areas under their control, particularly targeting women and journalists.

“It is particularly horrifying and heartbreaking to see reports of the hard-won rights of Afghan girls and women being ripped away from them,” he continued.

The UN chief called on the international community, to make clear to the Taliban that seizing power through military force, was “a losing proposition. That can only lead to prolonged civil war, or to the complete isolation of Afghanistan.”

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