Taliban Claims to Have Entered Capitals of Samangan and Balkh Provinces Amid Major Offensive
© AP Photo / Mohammad Anwar DanishyarAug. 12, 2018, photo, Afghan security personnel patrol in the city of Ghazni province west of Kabul, Afghanistan. A Taliban assault on Ghazni, a key city linking areas of Taliban influence barely 75 miles from Kabul, has killed about 100 Afghan policemen and soldiers since Friday, the Afghan Defense Ministry said
© AP Photo / Mohammad Anwar Danishyar
KABUL (Sputnik) - The Taliban* forces have entered Aybak, the capital of the Afghan northern province of Samangan, and released inmates from the local jail, a source told Sputnik. Government forces have left the occupied areas, the source added.
The Taliban claim to have taken full control over the provincial capital.
"During the operation… the city of Aybak, the centre of the Samangan province, has also fallen out of the enemy’s [the government forces’] control", Zabihullah Mujahid, the movement’s spokesman, wrote on Twitter.
At the same time, Afghan TOLONews broadcaster reported, citing two provincial lawmakers, that the Taliban have gained control over most of Aybak, while the government forces left the city without resistance.
© AP Photo / Tariq AchakzaiSupporters of the Taliban carry the Taliban's signature white flags in the Afghan-Pakistan border town of Chaman, Pakistan, Wednesday, July 14, 2021
Supporters of the Taliban carry the Taliban's signature white flags in the Afghan-Pakistan border town of Chaman, Pakistan, Wednesday, July 14, 2021
© AP Photo / Tariq Achakzai
In a separate statement, the militants also announced they had entered Mazar-e-Sharif, the capital of Balkh province.
The hostilities between the Afghan government and the Taliban have intensified as foreign troops began withdrawing from the country. The Taliban have since captured large rural territories and launched an offensive on many cities.
According to the UN assistance mission in the country, the number of Afghans killed or injured in the first half of the year has hit a record 5,183, with a particularly sharp rise recorded in May when the Taliban began its offensive.
* Taliban is a terrorist organisation banned in Russia and many other countries