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Taliban to seize capital Kabul in 90 days: US intelligence

A recent review of US intelligence indicates that the Afghan capital, Kabul, could fall to the Taliban within 90 days. The warning came after Islamist groups seized several towns and provincial capitals, including most of the country’s rural areas.

Only 9 provincial capitals since last Friday; Taliban fighters took control of Faizabad, Farah, Pool-i-Khumri, Sar-i-Pool, Shebergan, Aibak, Kunduz, Talukan and Zaranj.

It was hoped that at least in the urban areas, Western-backed government forces would be able to stop the Taliban’s advance. However, the strength, capability, efficiency and even morale of the government security forces are being questioned in the Taliban’s advance.

Under such circumstances, US intelligence says the Taliban could blockade the capital, Kabul, within 30 days. And will be able to take possession within 90 days. A U.S. Defense Department official told Reuters news agency, citing intelligence sources.

The Taliban control 75 percent of Afghanistan’s territory, and 11 more provincial capitals are expected to fall to them, a senior European Union official said on Tuesday.

The national capital, Kabul, is located in the Paharghera Valley. Thousands of civilians are fleeing to Kabul to escape the ongoing war in other parts of the country. A Western security official working in the country told Reuters that it was difficult to understand whether Taliban fighters had joined them in disguise.

“I fear the suicide bombers will explode in the diplomatic zone, trying to erode the morale of the townspeople. And if their intentions are successful, everyone will start fleeing the city as soon as they get a chance,” he said.

Meanwhile, the fall of Faizabad, the capital of the northeastern province of Badakhshan, on Wednesday also dealt a major blow to the Afghan government. The current state of affairs in the Kabul administration to stop the Taliban’s campaign is very clear.

In this situation, President Ashraf Ghani flew to Mazar-e-Sharif on Wednesday. He meets with local warlord leaders (group-based or controlling local fighters). He tried to unite the warlords during the Afghan civil war. Taliban fighters are also advancing towards Mazar-e-Sharif.

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