(New York, N.Y.) – This week, the Taliban seized the Afghan provincial capitals of Pul-i-Khumri, Farah, Faizabad, and Ghazni, giving them estimated control of more than two-thirds of the country. The Taliban’s victories bring the total number of major cities captured in the last week to 10 and follow the killing of government senior media officer on Friday in Kabul. According to press reports, U.S. officials believe that Kabul could fall to the Taliban within a year, while some estimate it could happen within 90 days.
President Joe Biden has ordered a full withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan by August 31. On Monday, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby declared it was ultimately up to the Afghans to defend their country from the Taliban and other threats. The United States continues to launch airstrikes from outside of Afghanistan in support of the Afghan military, but Kirby would not confirm whether the United States would continue to provide air support past the August 31 deadline or would limit counterterrorism strikes only to instances when specific plans to attack the U.S. homeland or U.S. allies are discovered.
U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad has warned the Taliban against pursuing a military victory in Afghanistan. He also warned that the international community would not recognize a future Taliban government. The U.S. State Department and Great Britain’s Foreign Office Foreign Office have advised their respective citizens to leave Afghanistan because of the worsening security situation.
To read the Counter Extremism Project’s (CEP) Afghanistan resource, please click here.
To read CEP’s Taliban resource, please click here.