01:51 GMT +321 May 2019
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    In this photograph taken on November 3, 2015, Afghan Taliban fighters listen to Mullah Mohammad Rasool Akhund (unseen), the newly appointed leader of a breakaway faction of the Taliban, at Bakwah in the western province of Farah

    Taliban Offensive Looks Set to Take Provincial Capital

    © AFP 2019 / JAVED TANVEER
    Middle East
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    Afghanistan officials report that Taliban forces have advanced to within a few kilometers of Tarin Kot, the capital of Uruzgan province. Officials warn Uruzgan may fall unless NATO provides air support.

    As overstretched Afghan security forces struggle to fend off Taliban attacks in the southern province of Helmand and around the northern city of Kabul, forces near Tarin Kot are understaffed, receive minimal reinforcement and are suffering from a shortage of food and ammunition, officials say.

    Local Afghan officials suspect the Taliban is after the city prison, to free militants aligned with the group.

    "If there is no significant air support and ground reinforcement, Tarin Kot will collapse," warned Abdul Karim, provincial capital head.

    The Pentagon, however, says it has no military advisors in the province, as the coalition officially declared its operation ended in 2014. No US warplanes or weaponized drones have conducted airstrikes in recent days, according to reports.

    The US Department of Defense announced on September 6 that 1,400 troops would be sent to Afghanistan for an undisclosed period. According to DoD statements, this is part of a regular troop rotation and that the overall number of US troops in Afghanistan will not be increased. US troops in Afghanistan are, according to official statements, conducting an anti-terrorism operation against al-Qaeda and Daesh forces.

    Earlier in August the US DoD confirmed that about 100 troops were sent to the city of Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province, but insisted that they will provide advisory and training and will have no combat role.


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    air support, siege, offensive, Taliban, Uruzgan, Afghanistan
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