‘Completely conquered’: Taliban claims capture of Afghanistan’s 2nd largest city Kandahar

A group of Taliban posing for a photograph. File Photo

Amid the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan, the Taliban claimed to have captured the country’s second-largest city Kandahar, leaving just the capital and pockets of another territory in the government’s hands, news agency AFP reported.

“Kandahar is completely conquered. The Mujahideen reached Martyrs’ Square in the city,” a Taliban spokesman tweeted on an officially recognized account on Friday.

The claim was also backed by a resident quoted in the AFP report. The resident said government forces appeared to have withdrawn en masse to a military facility outside the city.

As the Taliban’s claim of Kandahar capture, the report said the United States will send troops to evacuate personnel from Afghanistan capping an eight-day blitz that has left only the capital and pockets of another territory in government hands.

The US announcement came hours before a Taliban spokesman tweeted the fall of Kandahar — the movement’s spiritual birthplace and the scene of days of fierce fighting.

As the insurgents swept across more territory, Washington and London moved to quickly pull out their embassy staff and other citizens from the capital.

“We are further reducing our civilian footprint in Kabul in light of the evolving security situation,” the report quoted US State Department spokesman Ned Price as saying, adding “the embassy would remain open”.

“This is not abandonment. This is not an evacuation. This is not the wholesale withdrawal,” he said.

The Pentagon, according to the report, said 3,000 US troops would be deployed to Kabul within the next 24 to 48 hours, underscoring that they would not be used to launch attacks against the Taliban.


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