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Earlier on Sunday, media reports said the Taliban* had captured Jalalabad, the capital of Afghanistan’s Nangarhar Province and one of the two big cities in the country that remained under the Afghan government’s control.
The Taliban currently holds all of Afghanistan’s border crossings as the terrorist group closes in on the capital Kabul, the news agency AP reports.
The news outlet quoted Pakistan’s Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid as saying that Taliban insurgents had seized the Torkham border crossing, the last post still under government control.
The developments follow the militants ostensibly capturing Jalalabad in the eastern part of Afghanistan. The latter was one of two large cities in the country that remained under the Afghan government’s control, along with the capital. The capital of Nangarhar Province is located 118 kilometres from Kabul.
In a separate incident the Taliban ostensibly invaded the palatial home of General Rashid Dostum, a top Afghan warlord and a key US ally. The home is located in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan’s fourth-largest city that was seized by the terrorists on Saturday.
Several videos shared on social networks showed what looked like Taliban militants 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”.
CBS News has, meanwhile, cited unnamed diplomatic sources as saying that most US Embassy personnel will be evacuated from Kabul in the next 36 hours, as the Taliban advance toward the nation’s capital making major territorial gains.
One of the sources argued that it is a matter of days before the Taliban takes control of Kabul, while some reports went further by claiming that the Afghan capital may fall within hours.
© AFP 2021 / DREW ANGERER
The claims come after US President Joe Biden authorised the deployment of up to 5,000 American troops to Afghanistan to ensure the safe evacuation of the country’s embassy staffers.
Afghanistan has been seeing a spike in violence since the Taliban stepped up an offensive in the wake of international troops starting to gradually withdraw from the country. The latter is scheduled to be completed by 11 September. The pullout was stipulated in an agreement signed by the terrorist group and the United States in Doha in February 2020.
*The Taliban is a terrorist group banned in Russia and a spate of other countries