Taliban terrorists claim to capture Afghanistan's second largest city Kandahar
Kandahar: Taliban terrorists have claimed to have captured Afghanistan's second largest city Kandahar, media reports said on Friday.
Afghanistan is seeing a spike in violence now as the Taliban have stepped up their offensive after international troops started a gradual withdrawal from the country, scheduled to be completed by September 11.
The pullout was stipulated in the agreement the Taliban and the United States signed in Doha in February 2020.
The Taliban has captured several cities so far. However, Kandahar remains the most significant of them all.
The city, which is a leading trade hub, was once a Taliban stronghold.
A Taliban spokesman also announced that "Kandahar is completely conquered", but this has not been confirmed, reports BBC.
Sources have told the BBC that the southern city of Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province, has also been taken by the militants, although this has also not been confirmed.
It is now feared the Taliban terrorists will now target country's capital Kabul where a large number of civilians from different corners of the nation have fled amid rising violence.
With Taliban fighters continuing to gain ground in Afghanistan, the UN Secretary-General is following events “with deep concern” said the UN Spokesperson on Thursday, including the battle for Herat and Kandahar, the country’s second and third largest cities.
“We are particularly concerned about the shift of fighting to urban areas, where the potential for civilian harm is even greater”, Stéphane Dujarric told correspondents at UN Headquarters in New York.
The militant group ruled Afghanistan from 1996, up until the invasion of the country in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. It struck a deal with the United States last February, prompting the withdrawal of US and allied forces from the country this summer, as intra-Afghan talks have effectively stalled in the Qatari capital, Doha, that were supposed to deliver a permanent ceasefire.