Taliban captured the two major Afghan cities of Kandahar and Herat, the country’s second and third-largest after Kabul on Thursday, further choking the embattled government. The Taliban escalated its offensive against the Afghan forces soon after the US forces started withdrawing Afghanistan in large numbers after the peace deal signed between Washington and the Taliban in February last year.
Hyderabad: The Taliban on Thursday captured Kandahar and Herat, the country’s second and third-largest cities after Kabul, further choking the embattled Afghanistan government. With this, 12 of the war-torn country's 34 provincial capitals are now reportedly under the control of the terrorist organisation. In lieu of the threat from the Taliban, a security advisory for Indian Nationals in Afghanistan has been issued by the Ministry of External Affairs, India. The security advisory is in continuation of the earlier three advisories dated 29 June, 24 July and 10 August 2021.
The Embassy of India in Kabul has advised all Indian nationals to strictly adhere to the security advisories, especially given the photojournalist Danish Siddique's recent demise in Afghanistan. Special instructions for Indian media persons in the country for ground reporting has also been specified. "It is therefore advised that members of the Indian media should take additional security measures for their stay and movements inside Afghanistan including tying up of interviews and planned coverage before arrival in Afghanistan, as well as identifying well established security logistic firms who can make necessary security arrangements for stay and movement of the journalists," the advisory states.
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Earlier, Taliban had taken over 10 provincial capitals in Afghanistan, which roughly constitute 65 per cent of the country, including Ghazni, a city 150 kms from the capital Kabul, following which the Afghan government had offered to share power with the hardened Islamists.
Meanwhile, the United States has decided to send 3,000 troops to assist in the evacuation of its personnel from its Kabul Embassy. UK, too, has deployed 600 troops to evacuate British nationals.
Already, thousands of Afghan citizens have decamped their homes amid fears that the Taliban would impose an oppressive government, which includes removal of women’s rights, holding public amputations, stoning people to death and capital punishments. According to US military intelligence, the terror outfit could gain complete control of the nation soon.
The Taliban has been making rapid advances across Afghanistan by resorting to widespread violence since the United States began withdrawing its troops from the country on May 1. The US has already pulled back the majority of its forces and is looking to complete the drawdown by August 31. India has been engaged with a number of stakeholders and leading powers on the latest developments in Afghanistan.