Taliban Takes Afghanistan’s Third-Largest City In Onslaught

Taliban fighters patrol inside the city of Ghazni, southwest of Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Aug. 12, 2021. The Taliban captured the provincial capital near Kabul on Thursday, the 10th the insurgents have taken over a weeklong blitz across Afghanistan as the U.S. and NATO prepare to withdraw entirely from the country after decades of war. (AP Photo/Gulabuddin Amiri)

(AP) — The Taliban has captured Afghanistan’s third-largest city and a strategic provincial capital near Kabul. The latest advance further squeezed the country’s embattled government just weeks before the end of the American military mission there. The seizure of Herat Thursday marks the biggest prize yet for the Taliban. The insurgents now have taken 11 of Afghanistan’s 34 provincial capitals as part of a weeklong blitz. The capture of Ghazni, meanwhile, cuts off a crucial highway linking the Afghan capital with the country’s southern provinces. The insurgent push comes some 20 years after U.S. and NATO troops invaded and ousted the Taliban government.

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