How Taliban usurp Afghanistan Govrt
Map showing how districts have changed hands since 9 July 2021. 15 Aug.
The Taliban have taken control of Afghanistan, almost 20 years after being ousted by a US-led military coalition.
Emboldened by the withdrawal of US troops, they now control all key cities, including Kabul.
Late on Saturday Taliban fighters took Mazar-i-Sharif, an anti-Taliban bastion that was the last major city in northern Afghanistan still under government control. On Sunday they seized Jalalabad to the east of Kabul.
Other major cities under Taliban control include Kandahar and Herat.
Where the map shows a district is under Taliban control it means the administrative centre, police headquarters and all other government institutions are in Taliban hands.
The Taliban took some areas from government by force. In other areas, the Afghan National Army withdrew without a shot being fired.
They gained control of regional capital Zaranj on 6 August and in the past 10 days their advance has accelerated across the country.
Although most US troops left in July, several thousand returned to Kabul to help in the evacuation of American and allied personnel from the capital.
US forces based outside Afghanistan launched air strikes against Taliban positions earlier in the week, but they failed to slow the advance of the insurgents.
The Taliban also control all the major border crossings, according to the Associated Press, leaving Kabul airport as the only official route out of the country.
Customs duty on goods entering the country via crossings they control is now collected by the Taliban – although exact amounts are unclear as the volume of trade has fallen as a result of the fighting.
But, Islam Qala on the border with Iran was, for example, capable of generating more than $20m per month.
Disruption to the flow of imports and exports has affected prices of essential goods in the markets – fuel and foodstuffs in particular.
Billions spent tackling Taliban
US troops and their Nato and regional allies forced the Taliban from power in November 2001. The group had been harbouring Osama Bin Laden and other al-Qaeda figures linked to the 11 September 2001 attacks in the US.
But despite a continued international presence in the region, billions of dollars of support and training for the Afghan government forces, the Taliban regrouped and gradually regained strength in more remote areas.
What has the conflict cost the US and its allies?
A BBC study in 2017 showed the Taliban were in full control of a number of districts. But the research also showed they were active in many other parts of the country, mounting weekly or monthly attacks in some areas, suggesting significantly higher strength than previous estimates.
In 2017 about 15 million people – half the population – were reported to be living in areas either controlled by the Taliban or where the Taliban were openly present. (Afghan BBC)