The Taliban seized, Sunday, July 4, the key district of Panjwai, in their former stronghold in Kandahar province (South), after night fighting against Afghan forces, said local authorities. For the Taliban, this is a new take on the approach of the total withdrawal of American troops.
Located about fifteen kilometers from the city of Kandahar, the provincial capital, Panjwai has long been a Taliban center and the scene of fighting between rebels and NATO troops.
Since Washington began, the 1is May, the repatriation of its soldiers from Afghanistan, at the end of twenty years of war, the Taliban intensified their offensives against the Afghan forces to take control of rural areas across the country.
The capture of Panjwai by the Taliban was carried out two days after the departure of American and NATO troops from the base of Bagram, their largest in Afghanistan, located fifty kilometers north of Kabul and the nerve center of operations of the coalition against the Taliban over the past 20 years.
Fears for the future
“The Taliban seized the police headquarters in the district and the governorate building”, after a night of fighting, the governor of Panjwai district, Hasti Mohammad, told Agence France-Presse (AFP). Kandahar Provincial Council Chairman Jan Khakriwal Confirms Panjwai Fall, While Blaming Afghan Forces “In sufficient number” from “To have withdrawn intentionally”.
The Taliban seized power in Afghanistan in 1996, setting up an ultra-rigorous Islamic regime before being overthrown by a coalition led by the United States in 2001, after the attacks of September 11.
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Fighting has been raging for weeks in several Afghan provinces and the Taliban claim to control around 100 of the country’s nearly 400 districts. The Afghan authorities dispute this number, but admit that government forces have withdrawn from some districts, and it is difficult to verify the situation on the ground independently.
The withdrawal of foreign forces from Bagram and, in the short term, from Afghanistan has made observers fear that the Afghan army will struggle against the Taliban without the air support provided so far by US forces.