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The Guardian: Taliban overrun Afghan province of Herat and seize two border crossings


The British newspaper "The Guardian" shed light on the situation in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of foreign forces from the country, and said that the Taliban overran the western province of Herat, capturing two main border crossings to Iran and Turkmenistan, and a large part of the countryside outside the city limits.


This was the latest part of Afghanistan to collapse in the face of a rapid advance by the militants, during which they took control of areas far beyond their original southern strongholds. Their speed has raised fears that the government in Kabul could fall within months.


In Herat, the warlord Ismail Khan, who was in the era of civil war, summoned his supporters overnight, and deployed armed units to guard the main parts of the city and its suburbs. The newspaper pointed out that he is in his mid-seventies, but he invited all the militants in the city to join the fight and promised to go to the front lines himself.


He said in a video clip circulated on social media: "Now you can see hundreds of militants in my house, thousands have gathered since yesterday, with God's help, we will go to the battlefield by this evening, and change the situation." Pictures showed armed men gathering in the yard of his house.


Abdullah Abdullah, head of the Afghan government's Peace Council, admitted that while mobilizing militias such as Khan's "was not the best option under normal circumstances", it is now vital to prevent a Taliban takeover.


He added that if the Taliban's progress did not stop, the movement would never sit down to conduct serious negotiations, especially since the peace talks led by the government have been stalled for months.


Another senior Herat official said the situation was very dangerous on Thursday, but by Friday militias and security forces had cordoned off Greater Herat and the city and its airport were well protected.


A Taliban spokesman said they would allow cross-border trade to continue as normal through multiple points they had captured in the north and west, which would provide a lucrative revenue stream.


"All borders now controlled by the Taliban will remain open and functioning," spokesman Sohail Shaheen said on Twitter. The group already controls the main northern crossing into Tajikistan in northern Badakhshan, which reopened shortly after the change of control.

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