The Taliban claim control of a key Pakistani border crossing.
The Taliban announced on Wednesday that they had taken control of the vital border crossing of Spin Boldak on the Pakistani side of the border, extending sweeping advances gained since Western forces began to withdraw from Afghanistan.
The interior ministry said the attack had been thwarted and that government forces were in command, but a Pakistani security source stated the Taliban’s white flag was flying over the town.
The situation on the ground could not be confirmed right enough, but photographs of Taliban fighters looking relaxed in what appeared to be a border town were circulating on social media.
The Taliban’s seizure of Spin Boldak would be the latest in a spate of border crossings and dry ports captured by the militants in recent weeks, with the rebels hoping to siphon off much-needed cash from Kabul while simultaneously bolstering their own coffers.
Its capture comes after days of severe battle in Kandahar province, where the government was compelled to send commando fighters to prevent the collapse of the provincial capital even as rebels moved closer to crossing the border.
Zabihullah Mujahid, an insurgent spokesman, promised traders and residents in the area that their “security is guaranteed” in a statement.
Afghan officials, on the other hand, asserted that they were still in charge.
“There were some movements by the terrorist Taliban along the border area… The attack was repulsed by security officers, said to interior ministry spokesman Tareq Arian.
The allegations of the administration were met with skepticism by the locals.
“This morning, I went to my shop and noticed the Taliban all over the place. They can be found in the bazaar, the police station, and the customs area. “I can also hear fighting nearby,” Raz Mohammad, a merchant working near the border, said.
For the Taliban, the border crossing is one of the most strategically important.
It allows direct access to the rebels’ highest leadership in Pakistan’s Balochistan province, where they have been based for decades, as well as an unknown number of reserve militants who periodically enter Afghanistan to assist reinforce their ranks.
An AFP reporter on the Pakistani side observed roughly 150 Taliban gunmen riding motorcycles and brandishing insurgent flags as they requested to be allowed to cross into Afghanistan hours after the bridge fell.
Balochistan is a popular destination for fighters seeking medical care, and many of their families live there.
From the border, a major highway connects to Karachi, Pakistan’s commercial city, and its enormous port on the Arabian Sea, which is considered a key for Afghanistan’s billion-dollar heroin trade, which has supplied a vital source of cash for the country. Brief News from Washington Newsday.