The Taliban has gained control of Afghanistan’s second-largest city, Kandahar, in what is seen as a crushing blow to the Ashraf Ghani government. Terrorists have also seized the nearby city of Lashkar Gah and now control about a third of Afghanistan’s provincial capitals, media reports said, adding thousands of civilians have fled.
The terror group is forcing women to get married to terrorists, said a media report on August 12. Afghans are also witnessing the execution of captured soldiers and unprovoked attacks on civilians by the Taliban in the recently captured areas.
A female journalist, with anonymity, has described the panic of being forced into hiding as cities across Afghanistan fall. “It happened very suddenly. In the past days, my whole province has fallen to the Taliban. The only places that the government still controls are the airport and a few police district offices,” the journalist wrote in the first person for the Guardian.
“I’m not safe because I’m a 22-year-old woman and I know that the Taliban are forcing families to give their daughters as wives for their fighters. I’m also not safe because I’m a news journalist and I know the Taliban will come looking for me and all of my colleagues.”
Fleeing civilians have travelled to the capital Kabul to seek safety and are sleeping on the streets there. “We have no money to buy bread, or get some medicine for my child,” said a street vendor who fled northern Kunduz province after the Taliban set fire to his home told BBC.
More than 1,000 civilians have died in Afghanistan in the past month, according to the United Nations. The insurgent advance comes as the US and other foreign troops withdraw after 20 years of military operations.
There are reports said the relentless Taliban advance has pushed President Ghani to offer power-sharing with the Taliban. There have been no reports of Taliban response to the reported proposal.
Afghans pouring into Kabul say Taliban fighters have demanded that communities turn over unmarried women to become “wives” for their terrorists — a form of sexual violence, human-rights groups say, The Wall Street Journal reported on August 12.
BBC said the US is to send nearly 3,000 troops to Kabul airport to evacuate a “significant” number of embassy staff on special flights. The UK is deploying 600 troops to support British nationals leaving the country.
On Aug 12, the US Embassy in Kabul had criticized the Taliban as it had received reports of the Taliban executing members of the Afghan military who had surrendered. “Deeply disturbing & could constitute war crimes,” the embassy said on Twitter.