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This article is available in German: LINK.
The Taliban are riding the high wave, and it’s been happening for nearly three months.
The beginning of August, however, was significant in many ways.
So far, the group has captured 65% of Afghanistan and have taken or threaten to take 11 provincial capitals of the country’s 34.
Faizabad, in the northeastern province of Badakhshan, on August 11th became the ninth capital to be seized by the Taliban.
Since August 6th, the group has also captured Faizabad, Farah, Pul-e-Khumri, Sar-e-Pul, Sheberghan, Aybak, Kunduz, Taluqan and Zaranj.
Fighting continues to be extremely intense in Kandahar city.
The Afghan Armed Forces are providing a semblance of resistance in some parts, especially in the besieged northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif. President Ashraf Ghani visited the city to rally the troops, it appears to have had some result, but it all seems too little too late.
All gateways to Kabul, which lies in a valley surrounded by mountains, were choked with civilians fleeing violence.
The Afghan interior minister said that Afghanistan is arming local groups as part of a wider three-phase plan to fight back against the Taliban’s advances.
Taliban fighters could isolate Afghanistan’s capital in 30 days and possibly take it over in 90, US intelligence estimated.
The new assessment of how long Kabul could stand is a result of the rapid gains the Taliban had been making around the country as US-led foreign forces leave.
This all comes down to how the fighting will progress from now on. The Afghanistan’s government is attempting to shake things up, with the chief of staff of the army, as well as the commander of the special operations corps being shuffled.
The information coming out of Afghanistan is mostly one-sided, with Taliban capturing more cities and districts, as well as boasting of their various successes.
On August 11, the Taliban seized a Mi-35 attack helicopter that was left behind by the Afghan government forces at Kunduz Airport in northeastern Afghanistan.
Footage from different parts of Kunduz confirms that the Taliban seized at least dozens of military vehicles, mainly US-made Humvees.
Furthermore, the Taliban downed an Iranian surveillance drone over the southwestern province of Farah. The group released photos showing the wreckage of the drone, that was identified as an Iranian-made Qods Mohajer-2N.
The Taliban’s recent advance in the southwestern and northwestern parts of Afghanistan created an influx of refugees to Iran. Despite maintaining some low-level relations with the Taliban, Tehran appears to be preparing for the worst-case scenario.
As such, Tehran likely also expects the Taliban to be victorious in the fight for Afghanistan, and needs to keep a close eye, similarly to what Russia, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan are doing, to protect their borders and guarantee their security.