Taliban raise to 18 provincial capitals captured in Afghanistan

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Kabul, Aug 14 (EFE) .- The Taliban raised the provincial capitals captured in just over a week in Afghanistan to 18 this Saturday, after Sharana, capital of the southeastern province of Paktika, fell in the last hours.

“Officials have evacuated the governor’s house and the police headquarters and the Taliban have entered the city,” the deputy for Paktika province in the lower house of the national Parliament, Khalid Asad, told EFE.

Sharana was handed over peacefully and without “firing a bullet,” Asad noted, as government officials and security forces evacuated the city after reaching an agreement with the Taliban through tribal leaders in the area.

The Taliban also claimed the capture of the capital.

“The Mujahideen from the Islamic Emirate (as the Taliban call themselves) entered the city of Sharana in Paktika. All defensive checkpoints in the city were conquered,” top Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid revealed on Twitter.

The fall of Sharana occurs in the context of the unstoppable Taliban advance, which after the beginning last May of the final phase of the withdrawal of US and NATO troops from Afghanistan have increased their offensive in the country.

In the last three and a half months, the insurgents have taken control of 140 district centers, 18 provincial capitals and almost ten border crossings, the largest territorial conquest in two decades of war.

Meanwhile the security forces are fighting with the Taliban in five of the 34 Afghan provinces, in which at least 172 insurgents were killed and another 107 wounded, according to the latest report issued by the Afghan Defense Ministry.

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(c) EFE Agency

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