Sixth Provincial Capital Falls as Taliban’s North Afghan Offensive Continues

MPs say troops left Aybak without a fight

Fighting across northern Afghanistan continued after massive weekend losses,with a sixth provincial capital having fallen to the Taliban. This time, the small town of Aybak, capital of Samangan, fell Monday afternoon.

It’s not as big of a loss as cities like Sar-e Pul and Kunduz, but shows that the Taliban’s huge weekend offensive did not necessarily with the weekend. This continues a trend that could rapidly leave the north of Afghanistan in Taliban hands.

In addition to those cities, the Taliban also took Sheberghan, Taloqan, and the southwestern capital of Nimruz. The Afghan government is focusing on a new propaganda push, focusing on selling the idea that losing five capitals in two days isn’t that big a deal.

Losing all these cities, including Kunduz and the already fallen Lashkar Gah, is already a big deal, and with the Taliban pushing on places like Herat, more could be lost. Afghan forces are off-balance and the Taliban is showing surprising confidence.

The loss of Aybak is another blow to the situation, doubly so because MPs say it fell without a fight. It’s not a big city, but given all the territory losses it would be strange for the government to not at least try to muster a defense.

The Taliban issued a statement later Sunday saying there had been no deal on a ceasefire yet, and warning the US against any further intervention. The Biden Administration has ordered B-52 bombers into the mix, and past comments suggest they’re going to continue to intervene to prevent a total Taliban victory.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.