(PatrioticPost.com)- As the US continues its withdrawal of US forces in Afghanistan, the Taliban is advancing on southern Afghanistan, capturing nine out of the ten districts in the Helmand provincial capital. Backed by the US, Afghan forces have launched airstrikes against Taliban forces in a desperate attempt to defend the city of Lashkar Gah.
Taking Lashkar Gah would be a major turning point in the Taliban’s offensive which began several months ago. It would also be the first provincial capital the Taliban has captured in years.
Fighting has been so fierce, residents of Lashkar Gah have been trapped inside their homes, unable to venture out for basic necessities. Taliban fighters were seen openly in the streets, and all but one of Lashkar Gah districts are under Taliban control.
In an audio message shared with reporters on Tuesday, Afghan forces commander for Helmand, General Sami Sadat urged residents in Taliban controlled districts to evacuate immediately. Such evacuation orders commonly indicate airstrikes are imminent. Though how these evacuations can be attempted, however, is unclear.
Lashkar Gah is one of three provincial capitals currently under siege by the Taliban who have stepped up their offensive against Afghan forces. Over the last several months the Taliban swept across dozens of districts, many sparsely populated, remote areas. Afghan forces in these battles, lacking re-supplies and reinforcements, often simply surrender or retreat without putting up a fight.
In the past few weeks, Taliban forces have also captured lucrative border crossings with Pakistan, Iran and Tajikistan.
Within Kabul, support for Afghanistan’s National Security and Defense Forces is still strong. On Tuesday, hundreds of people waving the Afghan flag took to the streets in support. A similar march of support took place in the western city of Herat on Monday after Afghan forces pushed the Taliban back from the city’s entrance.
With the withdrawal of US and NATO forces now over 95% complete, the Taliban have turned their attention to provincial capitals in the neighboring Kandahar province in the south, and in the western province of Herat.
The final U.S. and NATO soldiers are expected to be out of Afghanistan by Aug. 31.
On Tuesday, the US Embassy in Kabul took to Twitter to express its objection to the Taliban offensive. Because the only thing less effective than a strongly-worded letter is a tweet. Condemning the Taliban’s “disregard for the dignity of each Afghan citizen,” the US Embassy tweet added, “This is not how legitimate powers or governments behave.”
Well, that’ll stop them.