Several districts in northern Afghanistan were taken by the Taliban overnight on Saturday as US forces continued to withdraw from the area.
Tajikistan’s State Committee for National Security said on Sunday that more than 300 Afghan soldiers had entered Tajikistan as they fled Taliban fighters advancing in Badakhshan province in northeastern Afghanistan, according to The Associated Press.
Mohib-ul Rahman, a member of the Badakhshan council, told the PA that recent Taliban gains in the region were largely due to low morale among outnumbered Afghan troops.
“Unfortunately, the majority of the districts have been left to the Taliban without any fighting,” he added, claiming that eight of the ten districts in the past three days have come under the control of the Taliban without much resistance.
According to the PA, the Taliban have now taken control of about a third of the country’s 421 districts and district centers.
The Afghan Interior Ministry said on Sunday that the Taliban’s gains were temporary, although the PA noted that no plan had been released on how local forces would attempt to take back the districts.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed to the PA that no fighting had taken place during the recent territorial conquests.
These advances are only the latest advances by Taliban fighters, who have taken control of districts since the Biden administration began withdrawing troops in April as part of the president’s goal of withdrawing all U.S. forces from Afghanistan by September 11, the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks which started America’s longest war.
While many have praised President BidenJoe BidenBiden on Richardson suspension: “Rules are rules” There is no “third way” for Iranian diplomacy Republicans eyeing White House take tough line on immigrationof the decision to pull US troops out of the country, it has also received bipartisan criticism from lawmakers who have expressed fears that the Taliban will quickly take over the reduced US presence in the region.
The Pentagon declined to comment when contacted by The Hill about this weekend’s territorial gains.
US officials announced on Friday that US troops had left Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan, formerly the largest US and NATO military installation.
However, General Austin “Scott” Miller, the United States’ highest commander in Afghanistan, told the PA at the time that he “still retains all capabilities and authorities to protect the forces.”