Taliban sweep across Afghanistan’s south, take 3 more cities

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KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) – The Taliban have captured another three provincial capitals in Afghanistan, completing their sweep of the country’s south. The lightning offensive is gradually encircling Kabul, just weeks before the U.S. is set to officially end its two-decade war.

The latest significant blow was the loss of the capital of Helmand province on Friday. American, British and allied NATO forces fought some of the bloodiest battles there in the past 20 years. The insurgents have taken 18 of the country’s 34 provincial capitals in recent days. That includes the country’s second- and third-largest cities, Herat and Kandahar. The Taliban now control more than two-thirds of Afghanistan just weeks before the U.S. plans to withdraw its last troops.

(Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)

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