First modification: 06/23/2021 – 04:14
The Taliban group seized a strategic corridor connecting Afghanistan with Tajikistan, an essential supply route in Central Asia. But it also holds control of more than 50 regions of 370 Afghans. The advance of the Taliban, accelerated by the withdrawal of US and NATO troops, worries the UN, which asks the international community to pressure the insurgents to return to dialogue.
The Taliban offensive in Afghanistan is advancing rapidly. This Tuesday, June 22, the group took control of an important road: the highway that connects Afghanistan with Tajikistan. A key economic corridor in the Central Asia region.
The day before, insurgents seized a key district in Kunduz province in the north of the country. The fighting, which has lasted for more than a week in the region, has prompted some residents to move to Kabul in search of safety. “The Afghan forces have withdrawn. The Taliban have positioned themselves on the main road and are only allowing civilians to pass through,” said Amrudin Wail, a member of the Kunduz provincial council.
The most recent offensive is part of the Taliban’s plan to seize control of the country. Dozens of districts have fallen to the group since May 1, when US and NATO troops began their withdrawal. A withdrawal that is expected to end on September 11.
The UN figures in more than 50 districts taken
This Tuesday, the United Nations envoy for Afghanistan, Deborah Lyons, denounced before the Security Council that the Taliban have recovered more than 50 of the 370 Afghan districts. He reported that the group is positioning itself to conquer provincial capitals and pointed out that there is a risk that the progress made in the last 20 years in the country will be lost.
According to Lyons, “a fragmented conflict creates a more permissive situation for terrorist groups to recruit, finance, plan and execute operations with a global reach.”
“There is only one acceptable direction for Afghanistan – away from the battlefield and back to the negotiating table,”
– United Nations (@UN) June 22, 2021
About the report, the US ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, spoke to the Taliban: “We reiterate that the military route will not lead to legitimacy.”
The Pentagon hinted that withdrawal operations could be slowed down to respond to the Taliban offensive, but the September limit for the total withdrawal of troops from the country would not fail to be met.
In late 2001, US-backed Afghan forces toppled the Taliban from power after refusing to hand over Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden after the 9/11 attacks.
Two decades later, the United States will withdraw some 2,500 soldiers who remain in Afghan territory and another 7,000 uniformed soldiers, mainly members of NATO, will also leave the country.
US President Joe Biden will meet this Friday, June 25, with his Afghan counterpart Ashraf Ghani and with the president of the High Council for Reconciliation in Afghanistan, Abdullah Abdullah, in Washington.
With Reuters, AP and EFE