Afghanistan war: Taliban push on while rejecting truce

The Taliban has rejected international calls for a ceasefire in Afghanistan, as they push for new territory.

They are reported to have overrun the key northern city of Kunduz, as well as Sar-e-Pul and Taloqan. Fierce fighting continues in two more northern cities.

Five regional capitals have fallen to the militants since Friday, with Kunduz their most important gain this year.

US and Afghan planes have carried out airstrikes on the militants. Afghan officials say dozens of Taliban died.

However, a spokesman for the Taliban warned against further US intervention while speaking to Al Jazeera TV on Sunday.

Violence has escalated across Afghanistan after the US and other international forces began to withdraw their troops from the country, following 20 years of military operations.

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 three northern cities fell to Taliban control within hours of each other on Sunday, with one resident in Kunduz describing the situation as “total chaos”.

Videos posted on social media showed Taliban fighters inside government buildings in Kunduz and Sar-e-Pul, though they cannot be independently verified.

The Afghan government, meanwhile, said special forces were still fighting inside Kunduz.

A Taliban spokesman told the BBC they were now targeting Pul-e-Khumri, the capital of Baghlan province.

Heavy fighting has been reported in the city, as well as in Mazar-e-Sharif, a trading hub on the border with Uzbekistan.

On Monday morning a loud explosion was heard outside the police headquarters in the southern city of Lashkar Gah.

Residents there said about 20 civilians had been killed in the past two days, and a school and a clinic were destroyed in the fighting.

Source – BBC

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