Shock and awful: Taliban now controls two-thirds of Afghanistan Nine Line News Team August 12, 2021 Nine Line News, Relentlessly Patriotic, Veteran Inspired 1,715 As U.S.-led foreign forces leave Afghanistan, Taliban fighters have swept across the nation. Yesterday, the eighth provincial capital, Faizabad, the capital of the northeastern province of Badakhshan, fell to the Taliban. A U.S. defense official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Taliban fighters could isolate Afghanistan’s capital of Kabul in 30 days and possibly take it over within 90. Reuters says “the speed of the Taliban advance has shocked the government and its allies.” The Taliban controlled most of Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, but were pushed out of power after giving safe haven to al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden. (As the world knows, bin Laden eventually found safe haven in a remote corner of Pakistan — until May, 2011 when SEAL Team 6 and The 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR) ended that party). Now the Taliban is on the verge of defeating the U.S-backed government in Afghanistan and mandating strict Islamic law – like the last two decades never happened. In perhaps the biggest understatement of the year so far, U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said the Taliban attacks were “against the spirit” of the 2020 peace agreement. Last year, Price said the Taliban committed to at least having talks on a peace accord that would lead to a “permanent and comprehensive ceasefire.” This week, Price conceded, “All indications at least suggest the Taliban are instead pursuing a battlefield victory.” Yup. “Attacking provincial capitals and targeting civilians is inconsistent with the spirit of the agreement,” he said. Ya think? According to the United Nations, more than 1,000 civilians have been killed in the past month alone. The International Committee of the Red Cross estimates around 4,000 people have been wounded and treated since August 1. Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen said in a statement on Wednesday that the group “has not targeted any civilians or their homes in any locality, rather the operations have been undertaken with great precision and caution.” Including precise, cautious suicide bombers. A Western security source said all gateways to Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital and largest city, were choked with civilians fleeing violence. “The fear is of suicide bombers entering the diplomatic quarters to scare, attack and ensure everyone leaves at the earliest opportunity,” he said. In addition to Faizabad, the Taliban now control Zaranj, Sheberghan, Sar-e-pul, Kunduz, Taloqan, Aybak, Pul-e-khumri, and Ghazni. Capitals being contested include Farah, Herat, Lashkargah and Kandahar. According to President Joe Biden, the U.S. has spent more than $1 trillion and lost thousands of U.S. troops in Afghanistan over the last 20 years. The U.S. continues to provide significant air support, food, equipment and salaries to Afghan forces. But Biden said he did not regret his decision to withdraw and urged Afghan leaders to fight for their homeland. What do you think?