The Taliban have taken control of a crucial border crossing between Afghanistan and Iran.
According to Afghan officials, the Taliban have taken control of a vital border crossing between Afghanistan and Iran. The Afghan flag seemed to be taken down from the roof of the border customs building in video footage.
The Islam Qala crossing is one of Iran’s busiest commerce routes, bringing in an estimated $20 million each month for the government.
As the US-led force withdraws its remaining troops, the Taliban are rapidly retaking terrain across Afghanistan.
The US discreetly abandoned Bagram airfield earlier this week, a massive station that served as the hub of US operations in Afghanistan and formerly housed tens of thousands of troops.
The Taliban are believed to now control more than a third of Afghanistan’s 400 districts, including a swath of land stretching from the Iranian border in the west to the Chinese border on the other side.
On Friday, the Afghan administration admitted that the Islam Qala border crossing in Herat province had been lost.
“All Afghan security personnel is present in the area, including border troops, and efforts are underway to reclaim the site,” said interior ministry spokesperson Tareq Arian to the AFP news agency.
The border is “in our full control,” according to Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.
According to reports, Taliban gunmen took control of five districts in Herat without fighting. As the Taliban advanced around them earlier this week, more than 1,000 Afghan security officers fled to Tajikistan.
In a quick push, the Taliban took control of nearly two-thirds of the Afghan-Tajik border, according to Russia. Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry, said Moscow was asking all sides in Afghanistan to “exercise caution.”
The news of the border crossing’s takeover came only hours after US Vice President Joe Biden justified his administration’s choice to leave Afghanistan after a 20-year conflict.
Mr. Biden stated, “I will not send another generation of Americans to war in Afghanistan with no realistic expectation of a different conclusion.”
He admitted that the Afghan government’s ability to rule the entire country was “very improbable.”
Some US intelligence analysts believe the Taliban might capture control of the country within six months, according to a memo provided to authorities last month and cited by US media.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has stated that Afghan security forces are capable of holding off the Taliban, and Afghan forces appear to have retaken lost ground in several places.
According to officials, troops recovered government buildings in the western city of Qala-e-Naw on Wednesday, the Taliban’s first major province capital in their latest onslaught.
Although US military operations in Afghanistan are set to expire on August 31, the great majority of foreign troops have already withdrawn.
Peace talks between the government and the Taliban are still ongoing, but they have repeatedly stagnated and failed to make meaningful headway.