After marching on multiple northern cities, the Taliban in Afghanistan on Sunday said it seized Taluqan, the capital city of northern Takhar province next to Tajikistan.
The group’s spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed shared several pictures and videos of the insurgents hoisting the Taliban flag at the main square in Taluqan, a large and important city, freeing inmates from the prison and entering the provincial administration compound.
“Today, late (in the evening) the center of Takhar province (Taluqan) with all relevant offices (governor’s office, police headquarters, intelligence center, prison and all government installations) are won,” he said in a statement that also instructed fighters not to enter peoples’ homes or make arrests.
Authorities confirmed assaults and said resistance is underway, while there was no immediate confirmation or rejection from the Afghan government.
Earlier, the advancing Taliban marched on at least three more provincial capitals in northern Afghanistan a day after capturing Sheberghan, the capital of Jawzjan province.
Reports emerging from the war fronts suggested that multiple groups of the Taliban stormed Sar-e-Pul, Taluqan, and Kunduz, the capital cities of Sar-e-Pul, Takhar, Kunduz provinces, respectively, engaging in deadly clashes with Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, as well as pro-government local militias.
Confirming the Taliban attacks in Sar-e-Pul, Hamidullah Baik, a local parliamentarian, told Anadolu Agency that the Taliban have captured the governor’s office, main prisons, as well as other key government buildings.
The Afghan Defense Ministry, on the other hand, claimed to have inflicted heavy casualties on the Taliban as well as foreign militants, including Pakistanis and al-Qaeda fighters in mounting air and ground offensives.
“572 Taliban terrorists were killed amp; 309 others wounded as a result of ANDSF (Afghan National Defense and Security Forces) operations in Nangarhar, Laghman, Ghazni, Paktia, Paktika, Kandahar, Uruzgan, Herat, Farah, Jowzjan, Sar-e Pol, Faryab, Helmand, Nimruz, Takhar, Kunduz, Badakhshan amp; Kapisa provinces during the last 24 hours,” tweeted the Defense Ministry.
After taking over nearly 200 rural districts last month, the Taliban launched assaults on major cities, marching on Herat, Kandahar, Taluqan, and Lashkargah, causing panic and anxiety among millions of civilians.