Kabul authorities prepare to send forces to restore Islam Qala crossing as Taliban advances


Published: 2021-07-10 11:46

Last Updated: 2024-04-19 10:27

Source: Yahoo News
Source: Yahoo News

A spokesman for the governor of Herat province told AFP that the Afghan authorities were preparing Saturday to retake a major border crossing that had been taken over by the Taliban, who are continuing their campaign in conjunction with the withdrawal of US forces from the war-torn country.

Hours after President Joe Biden's speech, who justified the US withdrawal Thursday, the Taliban, which asserts that they have controlled 85 percent of the country's territory, announced that their fighters had captured two crossings in western Afghanistan, completing an arc extending from the Iranian border to the border with China.

Gilani Farhad, spokesman for the governor of Herat, told AFP that the authorities were preparing to deploy new forces to retake Islam Qala, the largest commercial crossing between Iran and Afghanistan.

"The reinforcements have not yet been sent to Islam Qala, but they will be sent there soon," he added.

Islam Qala is one of the most important border crossings in Afghanistan, through which most of the legitimate trade between the two countries passes. Kabul obtained an exemption from Washington allowing it to import Iranian fuel and gas despite US sanctions.

Besides Islam Qala, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told AFP that the movement's fighters had captured the Turgundy border crossing with Turkmenistan.

A delegation of Taliban leaders said in Moscow on Friday that the movement controls about 250 out of 400 districts in Afghanistan, information that is difficult to verify independently and denied by the government.

"If they (control) such sectors of land, why do their leaders reside in Pakistan and cannot come to Afghanistan?" said Fouad Aman, spokesman for the Afghan Defense Ministry.

"Why are they sending their dead or wounded fighters to Pakistan?" he added.

The Afghan forces, deprived of US air support, have lost a lot of territory, but confirmed Friday that they had recaptured the first provincial capital that the insurgents attacked this week, which is Qala Nuo (northwest).