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Taliban Seize Third-Largest City in Afgahnistan, Move Into Kandahar

Brittany Jordan



The Taliban conquered Herat, one of the largest cities in Afghanistan, on Thursday and are now fighting to take the second-largest Afghan city of Kandahar, according to an aide to a regional warlord and other officials.

“Unfortunately, the Taliban managed to get into [Herat] city with the help of their infiltrators,” Abdul Razaq Ahmadi, an aide to Ismail Khan, a former warlord who attempted to organize the defense of Herat, told the Wall Street Journal. “The police headquarters has been captured by the Taliban as all police forces left it before the arrival of the Taliban militants.”

A main Taliban spokesman also wrote in a tweet that Herat was captured by the group, which was designated by the State Department as a terrorist organization in the 1990s, and videos that surfaced online showed the white Taliban flag flying over government offices.

“In the western part of the country, the large and strategic province of Herat was conquered,” Zabiullah Mujahid, the Taliban spokesperson, wrote on the social media site. “Moments ago, the provincial building of the province was completely taken over by the [Taliban],” he added, along “with the police [building] and other facilities.”

Government soldiers, he said, “laid down their arms and joined” the Taliban, and the “surrender of soldiers is still going on.”

In Kandahar, the second-largest city, heavy fighting has been reported. Local officials told Reuters that the group is poised to capture it.

Meanwhile, most parts of the city were under the group’s control but fighting was still going on, a Taliban commander told the news agency.

Earlier on Thursday, the Taliban captured Ghazni, situated on the Kandahar to Kabul road some 93 miles southwest of the capital.

An employee of the governor’s office in the city said the governor of Ghazni Province handed over the office to a senior Taliban commander.

“He gave a flower to the Taliban commander and congratulated him,” the employee told the Wall Street Journal.

The Afghan Ministry of Interior confirmed later that the governor, Daud Laghmani, was arrested upon arriving in the capital of Wardak.

The United Nations said more than 1,000 civilians had been killed in the past month. On Wednesday, the Taliban denied targeting or killing civilians and called for an investigation.

Starting in the mid-1990s and ending when the United States invaded in 2001, the Taliban ruled Afghanistan and used a hardline brand of Shariah law. The group has long been accused of human rights violations and harboring or working with other terrorist groups including al Qaeda and the Haqqani network.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Jack Phillips

Senior Reporter

Jack Phillips is a reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.

Brittany Jordan is an award-winning journalist who reports on breaking news in the U.S. and globally for the Federal Inquirer. Prior to her position at the Federal Inquirer, she was a general assignment features reporter for Newsweek, where she wrote about technology, politics, government news and important global events around the world. Her work has also appeared in the Washington Post, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Toronto Star, Frederick News-Post, West Hawaii Today, the Miami Herald, and more. Brittany enjoys food, travel, photography, and hoarding notebooks and journals. Her goal is to do more longform features journalism, narrative writing and documentary work, and to one day write a successful novel and screenplay.

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