Reports are emerging from Afghanistan that the government forces losing its hold around the country and Taliban militants captured two more major cities Kandahar and Herat.
The capture of the second-biggest city of Kandahar in the south and Herat in the west after days of clashes are a devastating setback for the government as the deadly Taliban insurgency turns into a rout of the security forces, Reuters reported.
“The city looks like a front line, a ghost town,” provincial council member Ghulam Habib Hashimi said by telephone from Herat, a city of about 600,000 people near the border with Iran.
“Families have either left or are hiding in their homes.”
Referring to the southern economic hub of Kandahar, a government official told Reuters: “Following heavy clashes late last night, the Taliban took control.”
The defeats have fuelled fears the US-backed government could fall to the insurgents as international forces complete their withdrawal after 20 years of war.
A US defence official cited US intelligence as saying this week that the Taliban could take Kabul within 90 days.