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Taliban Continue Advance on Kabul


Taliban fighters stand guard inside the city of Ghazni, southwest of Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 13, 2021.

The Taliban's advance in Afghanistan moved closer to Kabul with the seizure of Ghazni, a city about 150 kilometers from the capital.

Here is the latest:

August 13 – NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says NATO allies met in the North Atlantic Council to discuss the situation in Afghanistan. In a statement, he said, "NATO will maintain our diplomatic presence in Kabul and continue to adjust as necessary." He said NATO's "aim remains to support the Afghan government & security forces as much as possible."

August 12 – U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin speak by phone with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to inform him the U.S. "is reducing our civilian footprint in Kabul in light of the evolving security situation and will accelerate the tempo of Special Immigration Visa [SIV] flights." A State Department readout said Blinken and Austin underscored the U.S. "remains invested in the security and stability of Afghanistan in the face of violence by the Taliban."

August 12 – The U.S. announces the deployment of 3,000 troops to Kabul to help secure the U.S. embassy and facilitate the evacuation of U.S. civilians and diplomatic personnel out of Afghanistan.

August 12 – U.S. announces that about 3,500 to 4,000 troops with the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne Division are being sent to U.S. bases in Kuwait, where they will be on standby should conditions in Afghanistan deteriorate more quickly.

August 12 – Britain on Thursday urged its citizens to "leave Afghanistan immediately." British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace later announced he was sending about 600 troops "to support the diplomatic presence in Kabul, assist British nationals to leave the country and support the relocation of former Afghan staff."

The following is a compilation of the provincial capitals the Taliban has captured or is threatening to seize. There are 34 provincial capitals in the country.

Provincial Capitals Contested as of August 13:

Farah: Capital of the western province of Farah.

Captured Provincial Capitals:

August 13 – Qalat: Capital of the southern province of Zabul.

August 13 – Pol-e-Alam: the capital of eastern Logar province and the hometown of President Ghani.

August 13 – Firuzkoh: the capital of central Ghor province.

August 13 – Tarinkot: the capital of southern Uruzgan province.

August 13 – Lashkar Gah: the capital of Helmand province in the south.

August 12 – Kandahar: Afghanistan's second-largest city and the capital of Kandahar province in the south.

August 12 – Herat: Afghanistan's third-largest city.

August 12 – Qala-e-Naw: The Taliban said in a formal statement that they captured the capital of northwestern Badghis province.

August 12 – Ghazni: A high-ranking security officer says the Taliban seized the city, which is the capital of the province of the same name.

August 11 – Faizabad: A provincial council member says the Islamic group had taken control of the capital of the northeastern province of Badakhshan.

August 10 – Pul-i-Khumri: Residents say the capital of the central province of Baghlan had fallen to the Taliban.

August 9 – Aybak: Taliban fighters overrun the capital of the northern province of Samangan.

August 8 – Taloqan: The northern capital of the Takhar province is seized by the Taliban.

August 8 – Kunduz: The Taliban takes control of the northern strategic city that serves as the entryway to the northern provinces and Central Asia.

August 7 – Sheberghan: The Taliban say they have taken control of the northern province of Jawzjan.

August 6 – Zaranj: The Taliban seize control of the city in Nimroz province in the south, the first provincial capital to fall after they escalated attacks on Afghan forces in May.

Some information for this report came from Reuters and the Associated Press.