Watch: Taliban Appears to Raid Top Afghan General's Home
06:02 GMT 15.08.2021 (Updated: 12:10 GMT 15.08.2021)
The Taliban* currently controls more than two-thirds of Afghanistan as the militant group is closing in on the capital Kabul amid reports that the city may soon fall.
Taliban militants have invaded the palatial home of General Rashid Dostum, a top Afghan warlord and former vice president, as well as a key US ally during America's nearly 20-year campaign against the terrorist group.
On Saturday, videos emerged online appearing to show the insurgents lounging on Dostum's gold furniture and inspecting a golden tea set amid reports that the general had escaped and is in "a safe place now".
His home is located in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan's fourth-largest city that was seized by the Taliban on Saturday. This was followed by unverified claims of the terrorists fighting government forces on the outskirts of the capital Kabul.
The developments unfold as Afghan President Ashraf Ghani pledged to prevent "further instability" in his country in the face of the Taliban's ongoing offensive.
"As your president, my focus is on preventing […] violence and displacement of my people", he said during an address to the nation on Saturday, stressing that under the current situation, remobilising Afghan security and defence forces remains the government's top priority.
He also said that the government had begun "extensive consultations [on the situation in Afghanistan] at home and abroad" and that the results "will be shared with the public soon".
The Afghan president expressed hope that the international community will "stand in support" of Kabul's efforts to stop the violence.
Biden Increases US Troops in Afghanistan to 5,000 For 'Safe Drawdown' of Personnel
The speech was preceded by a Biden administration decision on Thursday to deploy 3,000 US troops to Kabul in order to help evacuate Americans at the US Embassy and Afghan Special Immigrant Visa applicants.
According to the latest information, the number of US forces has been increased to 5,000, with President Joe Biden stating that the goal is to "make sure we can have an orderly and safe drawdown of US personnel and other allied personnel and an orderly and safe evacuation of Afghans who helped our troops during our mission and those at special risk from the Taliban advance".
POTUS earlier accused former US President Donald Trump
of leaving the militant group "in the strongest position militarily since 2001" as Biden referred to a US-Taliban peace deal reached in Doha last year. The agreement stipulated the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan in exchange for a number of concessions from the Taliban.
Trump has, meanwhile, lashed out at Biden over his policies on Afghanistan, berating the US president for failing to follow the plan the Trump administration left for Biden regarding the US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.
The ex-POTUS did not elaborate on what his "plan" actually was, but insisted that the blueprint had "protected our people and our property, and ensured the Taliban would never dream of taking our embassy or providing a base for new attacks against America".
According to Trump, it will be a "disgrace" if the Taliban "raises their flag over America's Embassy in Kabul".
The past several weeks have seen a rise in violence in Afghanistan
, where the Taliban have ramped up military activities amid the ongoing withdrawal of US and NATO troops from the country.
The terrorist group currently controls about 24 of Afghanistan's 34 provinces, with the latest reports claiming that the militants have captured Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan, one of the two big cities in the country that remained under the Afghan government's along with Kabul.
*Taliban is a terrorist group banned in Russia and many other countries