Taliban seize sixth city… They 'came and destroyed everything'

The Taliban “came and destroyed everything” as they took control of a sixth city in four days in war-torn Afghanistan.

Afghan Army soldier

An army soldier patrols as unrest continues (Image: Getty)

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Militants have rejected international calls for a ceasefire and have instead pressed ahead with major assaults on cities across the country.

At least five regional capitals have fallen to the Taliban since Friday, with the northern city of Aybak, near the Tajik border, the latest to capitulate yesterday.

The Afghan Army retreated without a fight after community elders asked for the city to be spared more violence, deputy governor Sefatullah Samangani said.

One resident described the onslaughts as “total chaos”.

Gul Naaz said: “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.”

It comes as UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace admitted the UK tried to form a military coalition to continue supporting Afghan forces.

Mr Wallace also revealed Britain considered deploying ground forces again amid fears terrorist groups could reestablish a foothold in the country.

He said: “I did try talking to Nato nations but they were not interested, nearly all of them.

“We tried a number of like-minded nations. Some said they were keen, but their parliaments weren’t. It became apparent pretty quickly that without the United States as the framework nation it had been, these options were closed off.

“We could have put a force there but we would have had to take ourselves out of a lot of other places around the world. The possibility was not viable.”

UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace

No coallition… Wallace (Image: Getty)

Under the deal signed by former US President Donald Trump and continued by President Joe Biden, the US and Nato pledged to withdraw within 14 months.

I did try talking to Nato nations but they were not interested

UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace

The Taliban agreed not to target Western troops and to keep Al Qaeda and other extremists out.

The militants upheld their side of the bargain – but have waged war against Afghan forces.

Mr Wallace said: “The deal was a rotten deal, it is flawed.

“It saddens me that the deal picked apart a lot of what had been achieved in Afghanistan over 20 years. We’ll probably be back in 10 or 20 years. But acting now is not possible. The damage was done with the deal.”

Violence has escalated across Afghanistan now that US-led forces have all but withdrawn following 20 years of military operations.

The Taliban have rapidly captured large swathes of countryside and are now targeting population centres.

Roy Walsh

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