When cities are falling to the Taliban, what happens next can vary.
What does it look like when a city falls in Afghanistan?
The rapid seizure of provincial capitals across Afghanistan by the Taliban over the past three days has raised the specter of further setbacks for the Afghan government as it struggles to cling to cities in the west and south. and carry out counter-attacks to take back what has been lost.
As the Afghans prepare for what may follow – an attack on Kabul, the country’s capital, or several besieged provincial centers – those stranded in towns that have fallen in the past three days, including Kunduz, Sheberghan, Sar -i-Pul, Zaranj and Taliqan, face a new and brutal reality.
Those of the city of Kunduz, with a population of 374,000 inhabitants, and taken over twice by the insurgent group in 2015 and 2016, have entered a sort of purgatory. In the immediate future, they face Taliban fighters at street corners and the return of their intransigent Islamic regime.
Then there is the threat of stray bombardments or airstrikes.
Given the city’s strategic importance, in the coming days the government will almost certainly strike back. The fighting is likely to be fierce and will take place at the gates of the inhabitants still present in the city. Innocent people will undoubtedly die between two fires; thousands of Afghans have already been wounded and killed since May, when the Taliban launched their rapid offensive.
In Kunduz on Sunday, the shops were closed. Some had been set on fire. And utilities such as electricity, cell phone service, and running water were anything but certain. When the Taliban take over territory, they often destroy or deactivate cell phone towers to prevent government forces from communicating.
In some districts captured by the Taliban in recent months, insurgents have struggled to keep employed officials and public services operational in order to maintain some form of continuity, however fierce their opposition to the Afghan government may be.
But in the city of Kunduz, the rest is not clear. But every time a military force takes over territory, civilians end up paying the price.
Sayed Najib Hashimi, 41, a trader, said on Sunday that there was no electricity in the town and insurgents had started drilling holes in the walls so that they could move between the houses. without being seen from the air. Many residents, he said, had fled to Kabul, or were trying.
“When the Taliban entered the city, the Taliban treated people well during the fighting,” Hashimi said. “But after the city fell, one of them slapped a young man in the face for smoking.”
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