Taliban is ‘more powerful than ever’ says commentator
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On Saturday Taliban fighters captured Sheberghan, in the northern province of Jawzjan. It is the second city to fall in just two days, following Zaranj in the country’s south-west.
The Taliban has been making rapid gains since the withdrawal of most foreign troops, which is due to the completed by the end of this month.
There are fears Afghanistan could descend into an all-out civil war, or fall back under Taliban control.
Speaking to The Times, US officials said B-52 bombers and AC-130 Spectre gunships have been deployed to try and prevent the Taliban seizing more cities.
The group’s fighters are attacking Herat Lashkar Gah and Kandahar, Afghanistan’s second city.
The Taliban have seized two Afghan cities [stock photo] (Image: GETTY)
The Taliban have made rapid gains across Afghanistan (Image: GETTY)
Lashkar Gah, in Helmand province, was the scene of fierce battles between the Taliban and British troops before they were withdrawn.
The B-52, which came into service early in the Cold War, is able to carry 70,000Ib worth of bombs.
Spectre gunships are armed with a Gatling gun, M102 cannon and Bofors cannon.
America is operating its B-52 fleet from Qatar, hundreds of miles from Afghanistan.
Afghan government forces are trying to stop the Taliban advance (Image: GETTY)
The US aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan is also in the Arabian Sea, where it can provide support.
An American led coalition invaded Afghanistan in 2001, following the 9/11 terror attacks on New York and Washington DC which killed nearly 3,000.
Al-Qaeda, the terrorist group behind the atrocities, was allowed by the Taliban to use Afghanistan as a base to plan and train.
The Taliban submitted the Afghan people to a brutal interpretation of Islamic law, with women banned from being educated or leaving the home without their husbands’ permission.
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Afghan forces have suffered major setbacks since the US troops withdrawal (Image: GETTY)
The Taliban provided sanctuary to Al-Qaeda who conducted the 9/11 terrorist attacks (Image: GETTY)
In 2020 President Trump signed a peace deal with the Taliban, agreeing all US and NATO troops would be withdrawn within 14 months.
In return the Taliban pledged to launch new talks with the Afghan government, and vowed Al-Qaeda wouldn’t be allowed to operate from areas they control.
The Taliban have already been accused of breaking the agreement by a number of security experts, who allege a number of extremist groups operate from areas they control.
Joe Biden continued withdrawing foreign troops after his election, with the vast majority having already left.
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However, this has allowed the Taliban to seize much of rural Afghanistan in a blitzkrieg campaign.
They are now encircling many of the country’s biggest cities, which have generally shown more loyalty to the Afghan government.
The Government has urged all UK nationals to leave Afghanistan immediately.
Hundreds of British troops were killed fighting in Afghanistan (Image: GETTY)
In a statement it said: “All British nationals in Afghanistan are advised to leave now by commercial means.
“The level of consular assistance the British Embassy can provide in Afghanistan is extremely limited, including in a crisis.
“Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Afghanistan. Specific methods of attack are evolving and increasing in sophistication.”