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Taliban could take over Kabul in 90 days: U.S. intelligence

Complete chaos: Taliban insurgents and Afghans gathering in the city of Farah in Afghanistan on Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: Mohammad Asif Khan

The Taliban could isolate Afghanistan’s capital Kabul in 30 days and potentially take it over in 90 days, a U.S. defense official told Reuters on Wednesday, citing a U.S. intelligence assessment.

Taliban militants have taken control of eight provincial capitals in six days, a pace that has surprised U.S. officials.

Taliban now controls 65% of Afghanistan and have taken or threaten to take 11 provincial capitals, a senior EU official said on Tuesday.

The U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity,said the new assessment followed the rapid gains the Taliban had been making around Afghanistan.

“But this is not a foregone conclusion,” the official added, saying the Afghan security forces could reverse the momentum by putting up more resistance against the insurgent group.

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The United States has essentially pulled all troops out of Afghanistan, except those staying to protect the U.S. Embassy and airport in Kabul, with the military mission set to end on August 31.

On Wednesday, the Taliban took control of Faizabad — the capital of the northeastern province of Badakhshan, the eighth provincial capital they captured in less than a week.

The city fell as President Ashraf Ghani landed in Mazar-i-Sharif to rally its defenders as Taliban militants closed in on the biggest city in the north.

After a long battle in Faizabad, government forces retreated to a neighbouring district, Jawad Mujadidi, a provincial council member from Badakhshan said.

He said Taliban fighters had taken most of the province and laid siege to Faizabad before launching an offensive on Tuesday. The far northeastern province of Badakhshan borders Tajikistan, Pakistan and China.


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Printable version | Oct 25, 2021 11:54:20 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/taliban-could-take-over-kabul-in-90-days-us-intelligence/article35864499.ece

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