Taliban forces seize Jalalabad, the fifth-largest city in Afghanistan

A Taliban fighter looks on as he stands at the city of Ghazni, Afghanistan.
A Taliban fighter looks on as he stands at the city of Ghazni, Afghanistan on 14 August, 2021. Reuters
  • Jalalabad is the capital of Nangarhar, an eastern province in Afghanistan with roads that lead to Pakistan.
  • 26 of Afghanistan’s 34 provincial capitals are now controlled by Taliban forces.
  • US President Joe Biden deployed 5,000 troops to Afghanistan on Saturday.
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On Sunday, Taliban forces seized Jalalabad, capital of the eastern Nangarhar province, allowing them to continue their advance toward the Afghanistan government’s last stronghold: Kabul.

“There are no clashes taking place right now in Jalalabad because the governor has surrendered to the Taliban,” a Jalalabad-based Afghan official told Reuters. “Allowing passage to the Taliban was the only way to save civilian lives.”

Journalist Tariq Ghazniwal tweeted images showing Nangarhar Governor Ziaulhaq Amarkhil handing over the province to Shikh Nida Muhammad, the shadow governor of Nangarhar for the Islamic Emirate. Taliban insurgents now control 26 of the country’s 34 provincial capitals, BBC reports.

US forces have steadily left Afghanistan since given an August 31 withdrawal deadline by President Joe Biden. Taliban fighters began to rapidly seize territory during the withdrawal, causing US officials to reassess how quickly the Afghan government might fall.

In response to the Taliban capturing several key cities, Biden announced the deployment of roughly 5,000 US troops to Afghanistan on Saturday afternoon, whose mission will be ensuring an “orderly and safe drawdown.”