Taliban terrorists captured the strategic Afghan city of Ghazni on Thursday, taking them to within 150 km, about 95 miles of Kabul following days of fierce clashes as the Islamist group ruled out sharing power with the government.
The speed and violence of the Taliban advance, including heavy fighting in their heartland and the second-biggest city of Kandahar, have sparked recriminations among many Afghans over U.S. President Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops and leave the Afghan government to fight alone.
The gateways to the capital have been choked with people fleeing violence elsewhere in the country this week, a Western security source said. It was hard to tell whether Taliban fighters were also getting through, the source added.
With the last of the U.S.-led international forces set to leave by the end of the month and end the United States’ longest war, the Taliban now control about two-thirds of the country. On Wednesday, a U.S. defence official cited U.S. intelligence as saying the Taliban could isolate Kabul in 30 days and possibly take it over within 90.
Al Jazeera reported a government source saying it had offered the Taliban a share in power, as long as the violence comes to a halt.
Afghan government spokespeople were not immediately available for comment and it was not clear to what extent the reported offer differed from terms already discussed at stalled talks in Qatar.
Taliban terror group's spokesperson Mr. Zabihullah Mujahid said he was unaware of any such offer but ruled out sharing power.
We will not accept any offer like this because we do not want to be partner with the Kabul administration. We neither stay nor work for a single day with it, he said.
Under a deal struck between the United States and the Taliban last year, the insurgents agreed not to attack U.S.-led foreign forces as they withdraw, in exchange for a promise not to let Afghanistan be used for international terrorism.