(AFGHANISTAN) JUST IN: Heavy clashes continue in Kunduz city in the northern province since their start on Saturday night, according to security sources #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Aug.07: Dozens of shops and buildings have caught fire in fighting around the Kunduz airport and police HQ in the city, the sources said. …

#AceDailyNews says that Fighting Ongoing in Kunduz City, Clearing Operation Launched and the #Taliban takes first provincial capital in Afghanistan as city of Zaranj falls into group’s hands as the militants entered the city on Friday afternoon, according to media reports corroborated by footage circulating online TOLONews.Com/

“The Taliban have taken Chawk-e-Kunduz (the center of the city),” sources said: Dozens of families have evacuated their homes.

Taj Mohammad, a commander leading Afghan commandos, said: “The enemies have intensified attacks in Kunduz city over the past 24 hours during which they suffered heavy casualties.” He assured the residents of Kunduz that the security forces will defend the city.

The Defense Ministry in a statement said that Afghan commandos have launched a clearance operation in the city, adding that Gen. Raziq roundabout and national TV building have been cleared of Taliban.

Taliban takes first provincial capital in Afghanistan as city of Zaranj falls into group's hands

The city is the first provincial capital to fall amid the ongoing #Taliban offensive against government troops….

The development was confirmed to Reuters by Nimroz’s police spokesperson, with the official, who remained anonymous for security reasons, blaming the fall of the city on a lack of reinforcements from Afghanistan’s central government.

Footage shared online purports to show Taliban militants entering the city en-masse, on foot as well as riding atop a column of captured government armored vehicles.

وصلت فرقة القوات الخاصة للطالبان من فراه إلى ولاية نيمروز لتصفية مقر الشرطة و مركز الولاية من القوات الحكومية.كل الولاية بيد طالبان سوى مقر الشرطة و مبنى الولاية. pic.twitter.com/MkoktV0nLH— روح الله عمر الأفغاني (@roohullahumar1) August 6, 2021

The militants reportedly also broke into a local prison, freeing inmates from the facility.

The city apparently fell into hands of the Taliban largely without fighting, imagery from the scene suggests. It was not immediately clear whether the local security forces fled or defected to the Taliban.

The Taliban entered to Zaranj city, the provincial capital of Nimroz without any fighting. pic.twitter.com/HuXjlZsaw3— Fahim Abed (@fahimabed) August 6, 2021

In recent weeks, the resurgent group has launched a fresh major offensive against government forces, capturing large swaths of territory and establishing control over multiple border crossings.

The Islamist militants have also put pressure on several provincial capitals, including such major cities as Kandahar in the south and Herat in the west. Before the capture of Zaranj, however, the Taliban’s territorial gains primarily occurred in sparsely-populated rural areas.

Afghanistan War: Sheberghan falls to Taliban, militants say

Afghan security forces patrol in Herat
BBC News: The fall of two regional capitals in 24 hours is a blow to security forces, seen here in the city of Herat

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 interpreter relocated to UK: “A better life for my wife and children”

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”.

According to the Afghan defence ministry, US B-52 bombers have hit Taliban positions in the city. 

Taliban officials meanwhile said they had taken 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.

PROFILE: ANALYSIS: How the Taliban retook half of AfghanistanON THE GROUND: Bodies on the streets as fighting traps Afghans

#AceNewsDesk report ……Published: Aug.08: 2021:

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links, and can also be found here on Telegram: https://t.me/acenewsdaily all of our posts fromTwitter can be found here: https://acetwitternews.wordpress.com/ and all wordpress and live posts and links here: https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

#afghanistan, #kabul, #militants