“These atrocities are proof of the brutal nature and scale of violence in Afghanistan which attacks already vulnerable children,” UNICEF said, adding that there are reports that children are being killed. “Increasingly recruited into the conflict by armed groups”.
Insurgents then seized Kunduz, a strategically important provincial capital in northern Afghanistan on Sunday, making it the first major city to fall to the Taliban since its offensive began in May. With a population of 375,000, Kunduz was a major military capture.
Also on Sunday, Taliban forces mainly invaded the provincial capital of Sar-e-Pul, in the north of the country.
Over the past week, the United States has stepped up airstrikes against Taliban positions in an attempt to halt their advances. The Taliban accused the United States of bombing a hospital and a high school, as well as other civilian targets in Helmand province. CNN could not independently verify their claims.
“US forces have carried out several airstrikes to defend our Afghan partners in recent days,” Major Nicole Ferrara, spokesman for the US Central Command, told CNN on Sunday, dodging a question about the targets of the strikes.
A senior Afghan security official said that while things were moving quickly on the battlefield, US air support to Afghan military forces was still to end at the end of this month, when the US withdrawal is complete. The official said there had been no change in US policy despite the Taliban’s rapid advance on the ground.
“We need close air support,” the Afghan official told CNN over the weekend. “Things are getting nasty.”
There is no ceasefire agreement with the Afghan government on the horizon as the Taliban pursue military gains, he told news network Al Jazeera Arabic. He also blamed the Afghan government for starting the recent fighting.
“The Afghan government is the one that chose to start the war in different provinces,” Wardak said. “The measures that (the) Taliban took were in response and in reaction to the attacks and actions of the government.”
The United States Embassy in Kabul criticized the Taliban offensive against Afghan cities, saying on Sunday that its actions to “forcefully impose its government are unacceptable and contradict its claim to support a negotiated settlement in the peace process. Doha “.
“They demonstrate a blind disregard for the well-being and rights of civilians and will exacerbate the humanitarian crisis in this country,” the embassy said.
Last week, Afghan Foreign Minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar said the recent Taliban offensive had killed more than 3,000 people across the country and displaced more than 300,000 in recent months.
CNN’s Kara Fox, Nina Avramova and Hannah Ritchie contributed to this report.Source link