Taliban’s major offensive plunges Afghanistan into further chaos

On Thursday August 12, the government presented a power-sharing proposal to Qatar, which serves as a mediator with the Taliban

August 13, 2021 by Peoples Dispatch
Photo: Tolo News

The fighting in Afghanistan has intensified with the Taliban seizing two major cities Kandahar and Hera in recent days. Media reports said that the fighting in Kandahar province alone had displaced anywhere between 20,000-30,000 people. According to Al Jazeera, with the fall of Kandahar, the Taliban controls 12 of the 34 provincial capitals. Other media reports put the number of provincial capitals under the Taliban’s control at as many as 15. Four provincial capitals were captured on Friday, August 13.

A day earlier on Thursday August 12, the government presented a power-sharing proposal to Qatar, which serves as a mediator with the Taliban. The offer comes amid a surge by the Taliban, which has gained momentum since the withdrawal of US forces. The Taliban’s rapid takeover of many provinces has led to concerns over the government forces’ ability to defend the territories under its control. Several countries are taking emergency measures, including military deployment, to ensure the safety of their citizens. 

The nature of the crisis is apparent with the number of high-level functionaries who have been captured or have fled. These include the governor of Ghazni province and Herat-based commander Ismail Khan.

Fearing the military advances made by the armed group, the Afghanistan government requested a meeting at the UN Security Council on August 13.

In July, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said that there was an acute rise in the number of civilian casualties following the withdrawal of US forces which began in May. The UNMA’s Afghanistan Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict Midyear Update 2021 report documented at least 5,183 civilian casualties.  

According to Tolo News, a number of prisoners were released by the Taliban after their capture of various cities.

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