A United States defence official citing US intelligence, said on Wednesday, 10 August, that the Taliban could possibly take over Afghanistan's capital Kabul in 90 days, after isolating it within the next 30 days, Reuters reported.
The assessment came a day before Taliban fighters captured the eighth provincial capital, of the northern province of Baghlan, Pul-e-Khumri. The Taliban also gained control over Farah city, capital of the eponymous province, and have threatened to capture three more provincial capitals.
The official stated that the new assessment of how long Kabul could stand was a result of the Taliban's shocking speed in taking over one city after another.
However, he pointed out that this is “not a foregone conclusion," adding that the Afghan security forces could reverse the momentum by putting up more resistance.
Meanwhile, United States President Joe Biden had said on Thursday, that he doesn’t regret his decision to withdraw the troops and explained, “Look, we spent over a trillion dollars over twenty years, we trained and equipped with modern equipment over 300,000 Afghan forces.”
Biden had asserted, “Afghan leaders have to come together… They've got to fight for themselves, fight for their nation.” As per an unnamed European Union official, almost 65 percent of Afghanistan has now come under the control of Taliban, Reuters reported.
Isolation of Kabul
As per the defence official, Kabul, which lies in a valley surrounded by mountains, has had all its gateways choked with civilians fleeing violence. However, it is not clear whether Taliban fighters were also getting through, the source said.
Further, a doctor based in the southern province of Kandahar, was earlier reported as saying that fighting has been extremely intense in Kandahar city, with the city hospital having received several members of the armed forces and some wounded Taliban.
The Taliban claims to have captured Kandahar's provincial prison, and Ghazni city, which lies 150 km southwest of Kabul.
Moreover, the Taliban also claim to have captured airports outside the cities of Kunduz and Sheberghan in the north and Farah in the west, further closing in on Kabul.
It has been 20 years since the US' invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 to overthrow the Taliban from power in the country, the US is now withdrawing the American troops from the nation and hopes to complete the withdrawal by 31 August.
So far, 4,000 people have died due to the escalating conflict in the country, as well as led to the internal displacement of over 2 lakh citizens, many of whom flee to Kabul in search of safety. Almost one-third of the country is actively involved in the fighting.
(With inputs from Reuters)