US passes onus on to Afghans to defend country from Talibantext_fields
Washington/Kabul: The Afghan security forces are supposed to defend their country from Taliban forces, the US said on Monday, as Taliban militants captured a sixth provincial capital along with border towns and trade routes, reports The Guardian. Afghan's conflict has escalated since May as the US military began the final stage of their withdrawal from the country.
The US refused to provide additional military support and said that it could continue to seek a diplomatic resolution for the conflict in Afghanistan. The US negotiator on Afghanistan would press the Taliban diplomatically and help formulate an international response to the escalating conflict situation with mounting casualties and alleged human rights atrocities.
Meanwhile, UNICEF expressed its shock at the damages incurred by the recent escalation in violence, including the death of 27 children and 136 wounded in three days.
Taliban has seized Kunduz, an important military hub, Sheberghan and Taloqan on Sunday and the city of Aibak on Monday, the last one without any resistance. Its forces were advancing toward Pul-e Khomri, a provincial capital, while Aibak was being seized.
A source told the Guardian that the Taliban now control the headquarters of the police, governor and intelligence in Aibak. Shops are closed, and people are worried while many government employees and locals fled the city. After the city's capture, pro-government forces in the region got cut off as the city is a crucial route for supplies to northern Afghanistan.
Another source blamed a former senator and local strongman, who reportedly switched sides on Sunday for the city's fall.
The man had joined forces with the Taliban with his 300 men.
Taliban is going for the biggest city in the region, Mazar-i-Sharif. In the event of this city's fall, it would be a nasty setback for the Afghan government.
Also, the Taliban is now targeting government employees in newly captured territories, while many fled from their homes. Shahla, a woman prosecutor for four years, left the city Zaranj and came to Herat. She described the traumatic journey and explained that the Taliban had checkpoints all over the road. She said that she was not questioned at checkpoints during the journey because she was wearing a burqa.
According to local people, the Taliban is issuing "immunity cards" to soldiers and civil servants in the city, asking those with connections to the government to register themselves. They warned that those with ties to the government would be killed without trial.