Women join protests on Kabul streets in defiance of Taliban rule

“People need to express their anger, men and women, they must not stay silent,” one protester said.

Hundreds of Afghans, many of them women, protested in Kabul on Tuesday, chanting slogans against neighboring Pakistan and expressing support for rebels in the last part of the country resisting Taliban rule.

Video posted online showed protesters near the Pakistani Embassy in Kabul holding signs saying “#SanctionPakistan” and “#StandWithPanjshir.” Elsewhere on a street near the Iranian and Turkish embassies, video emerged of Taliban fighters firing into the air to disperse the protests.

Several journalists covering the demonstration were arrested, according to the Associated Press. In one case a reporter had their microphone taken by fighters waving Kalashnikov rifles, who then beat him with it and broke it, the AP reported.

Panjshir province, around 60 miles north of Kabul, has drawn resistance fighters from across Afghanistan since the Taliban seized power last month. Pakistan has been accused of assisting the Taliban.

Source: Women join protests on Kabul streets in defiance of Taliban rule

Afghan resistance fighters take back territory from Taliban

 

The fight for Afghanistan may not be entirely over.

A high-ranking former Afghan government official said Friday that resistance fighters — mainly made of about 300 battle-ready mujahideen members and commanders linked to the Northern Alliance — wrestled three districts in the northeastern Baghlan province out of Taliban control on Friday, killing upwards of 36 Taliban fighters and wounding dozens more.

The local fighters, often referred to as the public uprising forces, are said to have used their own weapons to retake control of Banu, Pol-e-Hesar and De Salah districts in the beleaguered province.

“The advance continues towards Khenjan in North Salang now,” the former official said, noting that locals were quick to remove the Taliban flag in the re-captured regions.

As the Taliban swept to control of Afghanistan’s provincial capitals and big cities last week, culminating by their capture of Kabul on Sunday, local warlords appealed en masse to the central government for air support and heavy weaponry to repel the offensive — to no avail.

Source: Afghan resistance fighters take back territory from Taliban

Taliban take over Afghanistan: What we know and what’s next – ABC News

The insurgents stormed across the country, capturing all major cities in a matter of days, as Afghan security forces trained and equipped by the U.S. and its allies melted away.

WHY DID THE AFGHAN SECURITY FORCES COLLAPSE?

The short answer? Corruption.

The U.S. and its NATO allies spent billions of dollars over two decades to train and equip Afghan security forces. But the Western-backed government was rife with corruption.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT IN AFGHANISTAN?

It’s not clear.

The Taliban say they want to form an “inclusive, Islamic government” with other factions. They are holding negotiations with senior politicians, including leaders in the former government.

They have pledged to enforce Islamic law but say they will provide a secure environment for the return of normal life after decades of war.

But many Afghans distrust the Taliban and fear that their rule will be violent and oppressive. One sign that worries people is that they want to rename the country the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, which is what they called it the last time they ruled.

Source: Taliban take over Afghanistan: What we know and what’s next – ABC News

U.S. deploying 3,000 troops to help evacuate Afghan embassy staff as Taliban advances

The U.S. embassy warned its ability to assist Americans is “extremely limited even within Kabul” due to deteriorating security and reduced staffing.

The U.S. is deploying 3,000 troops to Afghanistan in order to facilitate the drawdown of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul to a “core diplomatic presence,” as Taliban militants rapidly advance toward the Afghan capital.

The troops, which will consist of three infantry battalions total from the Marines and Army, will deploy to Hamid Karzai International Airport within 24 to 48 hours, according to Pentagon spokesman John Kirby.

“This is a very narrowly focused mission of safeguarding the orderly reduction of civilian personnel out of Afghanistan,” Kirby told reporters during a press briefing Thursday.

When asked if the troops going to Kabul had a combat mission, Kirby said U.S. forces maintain the right to self defense, but the mission is temporary with a focus on protecting the movement of civilian personnel. Kirby told reporters that the U.S. is still on track to complete its withdrawal by August 31.

In addition, a U.S. infantry brigade will be positioned in Kuwait in the event they are needed in Afghanistan to help secure Hamid Karzai International Airport, according to Kirby.

And a joint unit from the Army and Air Force, consisting of 1,000 personnel, will deploy to Qatar to help process visas for Afghans who helped the U.S., Kirby said.

The decision to deploy additional U.S. troops comes as the Taliban offensive makes rapid advances.

The militants captured the strategic city of Ghazni on Thursday, bringing their front line within 95 miles of Kabul, a staggering development that comes nearly two weeks before U.S. and NATO coalition forces exit.

The Taliban also claims to have captured Afghanistan’s third-largest city, Herat, in the northwest close to Iran. Fierce fighting has also been reported in Kandahar, the nation’s second-largest city.

“In light of the evolving security situation, we expect to draw down to a core diplomatic presence in Afghanistan,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said Thursday.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani earlier Thursday to coordinate planning, according Price.

Source: U.S. deploying 3,000 troops to help evacuate Afghan embassy staff as Taliban advances

US Sends B-52 Bombers and Gunships to Afghanistan As Taliban Advances

The US has deployed B-52 bombers and Spectre gunships to stop Taliban insurgents from capturing three key cities

  • The Taliban has been seizing territory across Afghanistan as US-led forces withdraw.
  • The US has sent B-52 bombers and Spectre gunships to stop the Taliban advance on three key cities.
  • The move shows how Afghan forces are still reliant on the US for military equipment and support.

Source: US Sends B-52 Bombers and Gunships to Afghanistan As Taliban Advances

U.S. carries out several airstrikes on Taliban in Afghanistan – The Washington Post

 

KABUL — The United States has launched several airstrikes in support of embattled Afghan forces in recent days, U.S. officials said Friday, an escalation in U.S. involvement in Afghanistan as the Taliban seizes more territory from government forces.

At least four of the strikes were carried out Wednesday and Thursday, including some in Kandahar, which is the birthplace of the Taliban and increasingly under pressure by Taliban forces, said one U.S. official, who, like another U.S. official, spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.

The airstrikes were conducted at the request of Afghan forces under attack by the Taliban or to destroy equipment stolen by the militants, including artillery and vehicles, according to the two U.S. officials.

An Afghan military official, also speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the situation, said the escalation of U.S. strikes has been “significant” compared to recent months, concentrated in the northern province of Kunduz and in Kandahar.

“Strategic momentum appears to be sort of with the Taliban,” Milley said.

For weeks, the Afghan military has bitterly fought to maintain control of provincial capitals after losing huge swaths of the country’s rural territory, often with little or no resistance. Militants have besieged the capitals by seizing districts nearby, choking off key roads in a bid to deny Afghan troops freedom of movement.

No provincial capitals have fallen, but Milley said the Taliban’s strategy has forced Afghan security forces to abandon some districts and reconsolidate to defend populated cities.

Source: U.S. carries out several airstrikes on Taliban in Afghanistan – The Washington Post