Taliban capture three regional capitals

The Taliban has seized control over three provincial capitals of Afghanistan including the strategic city of Kunduz, reports stated on Sunday. According to a statement given by the Taliban to news agencies, the Kunduz province has been captured by the militancy group which has also claimed control in the northern provincial capital of Sar-e-Pul and Taloqan.

In Kunduz, the Taliban has claimed to seize control over key government buildings, barring the airport and the military base which is still in the hands of the Afghan security forces. In  Sar-e Pul, the Taliban has driven out officials out of the main city to the military base nearby. According to government officials, large-scale operations will be launched to take back the key areas. Five regional capitals have fallen to the militants since Friday, with Kunduz being their most important gain this year. The Taliban said there is no agreement on a ceasefire with the government. Taliban militants have made rapid advances in recent weeks. Having captured large swathes of the countryside, they are now targeting key towns and cities. The Afghan government, meanwhile, said its forces were fighting to retake key installations. Heavy fighting has also been reported in Herat in the west, and in the southern cities of Kandahar and Lashkar Gah. The group warned against further US intervention in Afghanistan while speaking to Al Jazeera TV on Sunday. Violence has escalated across Afghanistan after US and other international forces began to withdraw their troops from the country, following 20 years of military operations.