Friday, August 13, 2021

Afghanistan on the Brink

The Taliban should be taking over any minute now, it's that bad.

If this isn't banner headlines in newspapers across the country in the morning, the publishers are idiots and traitors --- and no doubt in the tank for our bumbling, fumbling chief executive.

At the Los Angeles Times, "Taliban captures four more key Afghan cities on its way to encircling Kabul":

KABUL, Afghanistan — The Taliban completed its sweep of Afghanistan’s south Friday as it took four more provincial capitals in a lightning offensive that is gradually encircling Kabul, just weeks before the U.S. is set to officially end its two-decade war.

In just the last 24 hours, the country’s second- and third-largest cities — Kandahar and Herat, respectively — have fallen to the insurgents, as has Lashkar Gah, the capital of southern Helmand province, where American, British and NATO forces fought some of the bloodiest battles of the conflict.

The blitz through the Taliban’s southern heartland means that the insurgents now hold at least half of the country’s 34 provincial capitals and control more than two-thirds of the country — weeks before the U.S. plans to withdraw its last troops. The Western-backed government in the capital, Kabul, still holds a smattering of provinces in the center and east, as well as the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif.

While Kabul, the national capital, isn’t directly under threat yet, the resurgent Taliban was battling government forces in Logar province, some 50 miles from the capital. The latest U.S. military intelligence assessment suggests that Kabul could come under insurgent pressure within 30 days and that, if current trends hold, the Taliban could gain full control of the country within a few months. The group has already taken over much of the north and west of the country.

In the south, the insurgents stormed the capitals of Zabul and Uruzgan provinces, in addition to Helmand.

Attaullah Afghan, the head of the provincial council in Helmand, said that Taliban fighters captured the provincial capital of Lashkar Gah following heavy fighting and raised their white flag over governmental installations. He said that three national army bases outside of Lashkar Gah remained under control of the government.

Atta Jan Haqbayan, the provincial council chief in Zabul province, said that the capital, Qalat, fell to the Taliban and that officials are in a nearby army camp preparing to leave...

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