Taliban press advance after capturing 2 major Afghan cities

(VOVWORLD) - Western embassies and aid agencies began evacuating civilian staff from Afghanistan on Friday after the Taliban claimed to have captured two of its biggest cities in an advance that has raised fears of the collapse of the US-backed government.
Taliban press advance after capturing 2 major Afghan cities - ảnh 1Taliban fighters stood along a road with their motorcycles at a local bazaar in the Andar district of Ghazni province on June 3, 2021 (Photo: AFP/ VNA) 

The capture of Kandahar and Herat - the country's second and third largest cities - would represent the Taliban's two most significant victories since they began a broad offensive in May as US-led foreign forces withdrew under a deal struck between the militants and the United States last year.

The speed of the Taliban offensive has sparked recriminations among many Afghans over President Joe Biden's decision to withdraw US troops, 20 years after they ousted the Taliban in the wake of the September 11 attacks.

The US State Department said Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Thursday the United States "remains invested in the security and stability of Afghanistan." They also said the United States is committed to supporting a political solution.