To halt the Taliban’s advance, the Afghan government has imposed a night curfew.
The interior ministry said Afghan authorities imposed a night-time curfew in 31 of the country’s 34 provinces on Saturday to combat the rising violence triggered by a sweeping Taliban offensive in recent months.
Since early May, when the US-led foreign forces began their last pullout, the Taliban have captured key border crossings, dozens of districts, and encircled many provincial capitals.
“A night curfew has been enforced in 31 provinces across the nation, except in Kabul, Panjshir, and Nangarhar, to control violence and limit Taliban movements,” the interior ministry stated in a statement.
In a separate audio statement to media, Ahmad Zia Zia, deputy interior ministry spokesman, said the curfew will be in effect between 10:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m. local time.
The resurgent Taliban now controls about half of Afghanistan’s 400 districts, with the withdrawal of American-led foreign forces almost complete.
Following a brief respite over the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha this week, fighting resumed, with police claiming to have killed more than 260 Taliban fighters in the last 24 hours across different districts.
Both the state and the Taliban make exaggerated assertions that are impossible to verify independently.
As the battle intensified in recent weeks, the US military was forced to launch air strikes “to support” Afghan troops in their efforts to stop Taliban offensives, according to Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby.
According to experts, the lack of regular US air support for Afghan forces on the ground since May is a major reason in the government’s loss of land to the Taliban.
Late Friday, the Taliban issued a warning to the US military about air strikes.
“It is an obvious violation of the signed agreement that will have consequences,” the Taliban said in a statement, alluding to a major accord reached between Washington and the rebels last year that allowed international forces to withdraw.
The Taliban also warned the Afghan government against mounting an offensive, stating that if the adversary insists on war, the organization will “forcefully defend their territory and not remain in a defensive posture.”
To honor the Eid al-Adha festivities, which ended on Thursday, the Taliban declared earlier this week that its fighters were in a “defensive” posture.
General Mark Milley, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated earlier this week that the Taliban appear to be gaining “strategic momentum” on the battlefield.
With militants putting pressure on almost half of the population. Brief News from Washington Newsday.