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  • Afghanistan: Taliban introduce new rules for education and women

    Really worrying times for Afghans - imagine the fear they must be living in. The situation in Afghanistan looks to be really bad, just look at that map…

    Afghanistan: Fighting rages as Taliban besiege three key cities

    Fighting is raging around three major cities in southern and western Afghanistan as Taliban militants seek to seize them from government forces.

    Taliban fighters have entered parts of Herat, Lashkar Gah and Kandahar.

    They have made rapid gains in rural areas since it was announced almost all foreign troops would go by September.

    But the fate of these key cities could be crucial amid fears of a humanitarian crisis and how long government forces will be able to hold out.

    The fundamentalist Islamist militia is already thought to have captured up to half of all Afghanistan's territory, including lucrative border crossings with Iran and Pakistan.

    In Lashkar Gah, capital of the southern province of Helmand, a local source said insurgents were only a few hundred metres from the governor's office on Saturday.

    They had also come close to it on Friday, but the commander of Afghan forces said they had inflicted significant casualties on the militants, who were forced to retreat overnight.

    One MP in Kandahar told the BBC the city was at serious risk of falling to the Taliban, with tens of thousands of people already displaced and a humanitarian disaster looming.

    Gul Ahmad Kamin said the situation was getting worse hour by hour, and the fighting within the city was the most severe in 20 years.

    He said the Taliban now saw Kandahar as a major focal point, a city they want to make their temporary capital. If it fell, then five or six other provinces in the region would also be lost, Mr Kamin said.

    He said the Taliban fighters were on several sides of the city and because of the large civilian population government forces would not be able to use heavy weaponry if the militants got fully inside.

    In Herat, a Tolo News reporter said clashes had intensified, with Taliban fighters entering southern parts of the economically important city.

    There are reports of fighting in at least five different locations.

    The US is still carrying out air strikes to support the Afghan forces, who have recaptured a district around the airport.

    A guard outside a UN compound near the airport was killed on Friday in what the UN described as a deliberate Taliban attack.

    Residents say few places in the city are safe and some people are taking up arms to defend themselves.

    Ismail Khan, a former commander who fought against Soviet forces in the 1980s, has launched an armed movement to try to defend the city.

    ‘Islamic emirate'

    The EU's special envoy for Afghanistan, Tomas Niklasson, said he believed the war was set to get much worse.

    He told the BBC's chief international correspondent, Lyse Doucet, that he feared the Taliban way of thinking now was "something they had in the past - re-establishing... their Islamic emirate".

    And the former head of the British Armed Forces, Gen David Richards, warned the international withdrawal could result in the collapse of the Afghan army's morale, leading to Taliban control and possibly a renewed international terrorist threat.

    Humanitarian organisations have also warned of a major crisis in coming months as the Taliban continue their offensive - with a lack of food, water and services, and overcrowding in camps for the displaced.




    US troops and their Nato and regional allies forced the Taliban from power in November 2001.

    The group had been harbouring Osama Bin Laden and other al-Qaeda figures linked to the 11 September 2001 attacks in the US.

    But despite a continued international presence, billions of dollars of support and training for the Afghan government forces, the Taliban regrouped and gradually regained strength.

    In February 2020, then-US President Donald Trump and allies agreed to formulate a deal with the Taliban on the withdrawal of international combat forces.

    This year, President Joe Biden announced the withdrawal would take place by September.

  • #2
    Many Afghans are entering Turkey without any border control and people are getting angry at Erdogan for allowing this to happen. He probably wants all the refugees he can get so he can blackmail and threaten EU by opening the borders and letting refugees go.
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    • #3


      The U.K. government has updated its travel advice and advised all British nationals to leave Afghanistan immediately, and advising that anyone wishing to go should avoid travelling there.

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      • #4
        It’s very worrying - the Afghan security forces don’t seem to be able to make any progress on this. As international armies withdrew, this was always going to be a major risk and it appears to be the case that the worst fears of many people are now coming true.

        Afghanistan war: Sheberghan falls to Taliban, militants say

        The Taliban say they have taken control of the city of Sheberghan in the northern Afghan province of Jawzjan.

        An Afghan defence ministry spokesman told the BBC government forces were still in the city and would clear out the Taliban "soon".

        This is the second regional capital to fall to the militants, after Zaranj in the south-western province of Nimroz fell on Friday.

        It is a major blow to security forces, with battles raging across the country.

        There are also reports of heavy fighting in Kunduz in the north and Lashkar Gah in the south.

        Violence has escalated across Afghanistan after US and other international forces began to withdraw their troops from the country, following 20 years of military operations.

        Taliban militants have made rapid advances in recent weeks, capturing large swathes of the countryside, and are now targeting key towns and cities.

        Sheberghan is a stronghold of the former Afghan vice-president and warlord, Abdul Rashid Dostum, whose supporters have been leading the fight against the insurgents.

        Local media reports that 150 people travelled to the city to help Afghan forces.

        The Taliban first took control of the governor's compound on Friday during intense fighting, before it was retaken by Afghan security forces.

        However, the region's council chief, Babur Eshchi, told the BBC the militants were now in control of the whole city, except an army base, where fighting was still going on.

        Afghan defence ministry spokesman Fawaad Aman told the BBC's Newshour programme government forces were still in "the majority" of the city, including the airport, and insisted Sheberghan would be "clear of terrorists soon".

        But he conceded the Taliban had captured parts of the city, and that government troops had retreated "to prevent civilian casualties".

        Taliban officials also said they had captured a prison in Sheberghan. Video on social media shows hundreds of inmates leaving the city jail.

        Other provincial capitals under pressure include Herat in the west, and the southern cities of Kandahar and Lashkar Gah.

        The Afghan military says dozens of Islamist fighters, including senior commanders, have been killed in Lashkar Gah. The Taliban however have denied the military's version of events.

        And in the Afghan capital Kabul this week, the Taliban shot dead President Ashraf Ghani's former spokesman and carried out a bomb attack on the house of the acting defence minister.

        Taliban fighters have also captured key border crossings with neighbouring countries in recent weeks.

        The militant group has closed the border with Pakistan, and pictures show dozens of Afghans stranded on the Pakistani side, unable to return to their families.

        "We came [to Pakistan] to attend a funeral three days ago. Now the border is closed. We're sitting here. We have no food and no money," a man trying to get home to Kandahar told Reuters news agency.

        The US and UK governments have urged its citizens to leave the country immediately because of the worsening security situation.

        On Friday, the British Foreign Office warned that militants were very likely to carry out attacks in Afghanistan. The US said citizens can receive a repatriation loan if they cannot afford to pay for a commercial flight themselves.

        https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-58127407

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        • #5
          Two more cities now seized - that’s four since Friday and the seizure of Kunduz is the most significant yet.

          Afghanistan war: Taliban capture city of Kunduz

          The Taliban have captured the key northern Afghan city of Kunduz, one of the country's largest, after fierce fighting with government forces.

          A local official told the BBC all but the city's airport had fallen to the militants. The group's flag was seen raised in the city centre.

          Chaotic scenes have been reported with buildings and shops ablaze.

          Four regional capitals have now fallen to the Taliban since Friday. Kunduz is their most important gain this year.

          The militants also fought their way into another northern city, Sar-e-Pul, which was captured within hours of Kunduz. Afghan officials insist their forces still remain in the cities that have fallen, and fighting is ongoing.

          Violence has escalated across Afghanistan after US and other international forces began to withdraw their troops from the country, following 20 years of military operations.

          Taliban militants have made rapid advances in recent weeks. Having captured large swathes of the countryside, they are now targeting key towns and cities.

          There is also heavy fighting in Herat in the west, and the southern cities of Kandahar and Lashkar Gah.

          Thousands of civilians have been displaced during the fighting this year. Families, including babies and young children, have been sheltering in a school in the north-eastern city of Asadabad.

          "Many bombs were dropped on our village. The Taliban came and destroyed everything. We were helpless and had to leave our houses. Our children and ourselves are sleeping on the ground in dire conditions", Gul Naaz told AFP.

          "There was firing, one of my seven-year-old daughters went out during that fighting and disappeared. I don't know if she is alive or dead," another displaced resident said.

          The US has intensified its air strikes on Taliban positions, with Afghan military officials saying militants have been killed. But the Taliban say the air strikes hit two hospitals and a school in the city of Lashkar Gah. Neither claim has been independently verified.

          The US embassy in Afghanistan has condemned the Taliban's "violent new offensive against Afghan cities", saying the group's actions to "forcibly impose its rule are unacceptable".

          "They demonstrate wanton disregard for the welfare and rights of civilians and will worsen this country's humanitarian crisis," it said in a statement.

          The importance of Kunduz

          The seizure of Kunduz is the most significant gain for the Taliban since they launched their offensive in May.

          The city, which is home to 270,000 people, is considered a gateway to the country's mineral-rich northern provinces. And its location makes it strategically important as there are highways connecting Kunduz to other major cities, including the capital Kabul, and the province shares a border with Tajikistan.

          That border is used for the smuggling of Afghan opium and heroin to Central Asia, which then finds its way to Europe. Controlling Kunduz means controlling one of the most important drug smuggling routes in the region.

          It also holds symbolic significance for the Taliban because it was a key northern stronghold before 2001. The militants captured the city in 2015 and again in 2016 but have never been able to hold it for long.

          https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-58135148

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          • #6
            Shit. What are the global implications?
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            • #7
              The Taliban have now seized 10 cities in total, and are advancing fast - US government intelligence apparently predicts that Kabul could be under their control within 90 days.

              The President has replaced the Chief of the Afghan Army after less than 2 months in role and is now in talks with local warlords to bolster the Afghan national defence and halt the advance of the Taliban.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by DnBLover View Post
                Shit. What are the global implications?
                It’s a very good question.

                The resurgent Taliban say that they are wanting to reintroduce the values and culture that was in Afghanistan prior to 2001, when the US and other western countries started to meddle in the Middle East. They state that they wish to harm as few Afghan civilians as possible.

                However, what they want to reintroduce is a brutal, uncompromising Islamic rule, which has essentially faded over the last 20 years, Afghans have become accustomed to a much more free society (arguably with imposed western values) - what the Taliban want to bring back is a much harsher and strict way of life. This is clearly at conflict with the Afghan government.

                The international ramifications are I think not understood - certainly I can’t find any real credible indication of what they truly are.

                This BBC article is quite helpful in understanding what the Taliban are about and is a good read: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-58156772

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                • #9
                  So what should and could be done? I suspect a good section of Afghan society quietly welcomes fundamentalist ideals.

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                  • #10
                    I heard a soldier who served there in the 00s talking on Radio 1 about this. He said if they knew then what was happening now they'd have never bothered.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Thriller View Post
                      I heard a soldier who served there in the 00s talking on Radio 1 about this. He said if they knew then what was happening now they'd have never bothered.
                      Maybe my view on this is too simplistic, but I believe that ironically if they had never bothered, the Taliban would have never become this strong.
                      Ultimately, every military action by western countries only serves as fuel for their propaganda. The Taliban will never die as long as their ideals are kept alive.

                      It‘s such a Catch-22 situation. Do nothing and watch them take over the country? Do something and watch their propaganda infect more and more minds? It’s scary, to say the least.

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                      • #12
                        It’s a sad turn of events. I really don’t know what the answers are and it’s such a huge step backwards - they have a generation of people (particularly women) who have never had to deal with Taliban rule and essentially grew up in a different world.
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by DnBLover View Post
                          Shit. What are the global implications?
                          So many Afghans are entering Turkey illegally and they are all young men. They will be huge trouble for Turkey and Europe in the future. I can't believe they are allowing this to happen to Turkey and they will use Afghans to blackmail Europe.
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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Thriller View Post
                            I heard a soldier who served there in the 00s talking on Radio 1 about this. He said if they knew then what was happening now they'd have never bothered.
                            LOL the irony of him saying that when what he served for was exactly for this to happen. This happened because he and other brainwashed puppet soldiers did their jobs there.

                            Destabilizing and f**king up a country by overthrowing their government and trying to install milita extremists in charge has USA written to a T
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                            • #15
                              The Taliban have now taken an 11th provincial capital, they now control a third of the country’s provincial capitals.

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                              • #16
                                Originally posted by menime123 View Post
                                It’s a sad turn of events. I really don’t know what the answers are and it’s such a huge step backwards - they have a generation of people (particularly women) who have never had to deal with Taliban rule and essentially grew up in a different world.
                                This really mustn’t be understated - a generation of young Afghans have grown up with freedoms that the Taliban don’t wish to preserve and protect. Taliban rule will be a massive step change in Afghan society and they do rule with an iron fist (with the BBC referring to a specific local person having explained to a journalist that they were aware of a local Afghan man who was made to walk barefoot in the blistering sun and heat until he collapsed because he’d played local music on the radio rather than recorded religious scripture).

                                I’m really surprised at how quickly the Taliban have been able to mobilise and effect their will - it shows signs of sophisticated strategy and planning. The Afghan army is apparently 350,000 strong, what on earth have they been doing for the last 10 years?’ They should not be losing ground this easily.

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                                • #17
                                  U.K. government sending 600 troops to support the exit of U.K. to 4,000 U.K. citizens in Afghanistan.

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                                  • #18
                                    10 years ago, many people from my country would've probably answered like 'Let the Afghans find a way to solve that problem in their own country!'. The issue is that these days, whenever there's a major conflict in any country, people instantly flee and come to Europe, preferably Germany, Hungary or Sweden (source). Therefore, it instantly affects those countries as well.
                                    On top of that, there are left-leaning politicians in my country that say that even criminal (!) Afghans shouldn't be deported to Afghanistan. We haven't heard of Syria for a longer period, so let's hope that they got their ish together, but I don't want the whole mess continue with Afghanistan instead.

                                    EDIT: Thanks at aRat !
                                    Last edited by theMathematician; Mon August 16, 2021, 19:21.
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                                    • #19


                                      Once they’ve got Kabul, I can’t see how the Afghan army will move forward - that’s strategically such an important win for the Taliban.

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                                      • #20
                                        BBC reporting that the Taliban have entered Kabul and are being met with very little resistance - it’s all over I think. Thus far, over 250,000 people have been displaced, many of them made their way to Kabul thinking they would be safe.

                                        Providing the Taliban don’t attempt to interfere with the efforts of other countries who are exiting their citizens, they will probably continue to face little resistance. Apparently, many of the local Governor’s of the cities where the Taliban have seized control have surrendered their cities without issue - either to spare lives or because they want the Taliban back in power.

                                        The American involvement in Afghanistan is rumoured to have cost $2 trillion over the last 20 years with thousands of lives lost - all of that investment has been destroyed in 2 weeks. I think that this - and whatever subsequently happens - will mark Biden’s legacy.

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                                        • #21
                                          ^I think the US agreed to withdraw before Biden. Dont quote me on that though.

                                          This is worrying to see. And how quickly it all happened too.
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                                          • #22
                                            I think you’re right, it was agreed in 2018 that the US would withdraw in return for the Taliban agreeing not to allow terror groups to base themselves in Afghanistan and for the Taliban not to attack US troops or citizens.

                                            However, Biden could’ve changed the when, why, where and how of it all - I do think that it’s unfortunate but this will probably be the new international issue for a lot of countries for the next few years. Apparently, 80% of those 250,000 displaced citizens are women and children - the UN have stated that they are alarmed at the scale of the humanitarian crisis and how quickly it has escalated.

                                            In parts of Afghanistan where women and children have stayed, the BBC are reporting - unverified, I have to say, this is based on what reporters are told by local people - that women are being forced back into burkas and being told that many of the freedoms they previously had are no longer applicable (e.g. attending university) and young men are being forced to carry military items for the Taliban. Where people don’t comply, punishments are being issued.

                                            The BBC also report that the US government are now advising the Afghan government to reach a political solution with the Taliban. However, the last time that the Taliban government seized such control in Afghanistan (the late 90s), they executed the sitting Afghan President at that time.

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                                            • #23
                                              Update from the BBC:

                                              The situation in Kabul is fast-moving this morning.

                                              The Taliban have issued a statement to say they have ordered their fighters to stay at entry points to the capital - citing the risk to the densely populated civilian population.

                                              The statement says responsibility for the security of the city remains with the government for now and asserts that talks for the peaceful transfer of power are continuing.

                                              The statement urges Afghans to stay in the country and insists the Taliban wants people "from all walks of life, to see themselves in a future Islamic system with a responsible government that serves and is acceptable to all”.


                                              However, reports from Kabul say gunfire has been heard and Taliban militants with flags seen on the streets.

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                                              • #24
                                                They seem to have sprung back up from nowhere. I thought the Talliban was barely even still functioning and now it seems out of nowhere they’ve taken control of the whole country. I wonder what happens next, if they actually manage to end up controlling Afghanistan would they have to then seek diplomatic relations with the rest of the world? I’m not sure how that works. It seems that foreign soldiers are only being deployed to help remove international citizens rather than try and resist, nobody seems to want to go back down that road despite the years, money and lives spent over the last 20 years.
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                                                • #25
                                                  So this makes the American intervention of 20 years ago look pretty useless and bound to petty political considerations. I am wondering how the generation that came to taste freedom (with all of its shortcomings) can now manage to survive under these new conditions. I am also wondering if the predictable massacre that is going to follow is going to put a stain in Joe Biden's reputation or the media will focus on the "bringing the troops home, no matter what" petty mantra that Trump also followed in Syria with equally devastating results. It's a real tragedy tbh.
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