A correspondent for Al Jazeera on Sunday cited “incredibly tense” fighting surrounding three major cities – Lashkar Gah, Kandahar and Herat – which could fall to the Taliban amid huge military pressure.
“The Taliban has picked up a huge amount of rural territory in the last month and now they are putting the cities under a heap of pressure, and then they can take that leverage back to the negotiating table,” Charlotte Bellis reported from Kabul.
Also on Sunday a major airport in southern Afghanistan has came under Taliban rocket attack. All flights out of the country’s second largest city of Kandahar have been halted after multiple rockets fired by the Taliban scored direct hits on the international airport in the early morning.
The runway was damaged in the attack, used for civilian air travel, but no casualties were reported. The Taliban took responsibility for the assault, while seeking to justify that it views the airport as a legitimate military target.
“Kandahar airport was targeted by us because the enemy were using it as a center to conduct air strikes against us,” a Taliban spokesperson told Reuters.
And further Al Jazeeranotes that “The facility is vital to providing the logistical and air support needed to keep the Taliban from overrunning the city, while also providing aerial cover for large tracts of southern Afghanistan.”
“After seizing large tracts of rural territory and capturing key border crossings, the Taliban has now started to besiege provincial capitals,” the report continues amid the US troop withdrawal.
It’s now been widely affirmed that the Taliban does indeed control the majority of all major border areas and crossings throughout the country. Previously defeated Afghan national troops in a number of areas fled across borders, particularly into Tajikistan, where Tajik national forces have sent thousands of reservists to secure the border.