12 August 2021 (AlJazeera News)
Herat, Afghanistan’s third-largest city, has fallen to the Taliban, residents and local journalists said, becoming the eleventh provincial capital to be captured by the armed group in recent days.
Earlier on Thursday, the armed group took control of Ghazni, the capital of Ghazni province, about 130km (80 miles) southwest of the national capital, Kabul.
Al Jazeera’s Charlotte Bellis, reporting from the capital Kabul, said the capture of Herat was a “major scalp” for the Taliban, and a “huge loss” for government forces, as the armed group continued its sweeping military advance across Afghanistan amid pullout of foreign troops after 20 years of war.
“The Taliban has been on a huge offensive this evening, claiming scalps in the west, potentially in the east, and pushing incredibly hard in the South,” she reported.
Bellis said fighting was reportedly ongoing in Kandahar city, the country’s second-largest city, and Badghis province – where heavy clashes were reported at the governor’s compound.
Meanwhile, a government source tells Al Jazeera the Afghan government has offered the Taliban a share in power so long as the rising violence in the country comes to a halt.
Envoys from the United States, China and other states on Thursday called for an accelerated peace process for Afghanistan as a “matter of great urgency” and for an immediate halt to attacks on provincial capitals and cities in Afghanistan.
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