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Air Taliban: Fighters seize $6million US Blackhawk helicopters alongside tons of American equipment - while taking to the skies in captured Russian choppers as advance approaches outskirts of Kabul

Taliban fighters today seized $6million US Blackhawk helicopters alongside tons of American equipment as they took to the skies in captured Russian choppers amid their advance through Afghanistan. 

A series of videos being shared on social media show insurgents flying the Kremlin-made mi-17 aircraft around the city of Kandahar, with concerns continuing to grow over the militants' ongoing grab for power.

Even more seismic, however, is the evidence that the Taliban have also seized American-made Blackhawk helicopters, made famous in the 2001 Ridley Scott blockbuster.

The Afghan government pilots who fly the operational Russian helicopters have been turned to the Taliban, while the US helicopters are likely to be grounded by a lack of spare parts from the United States. 

The White House has spent billions of dollars on supplying the Afghan military with the necessary weapons and equipment to wipe out the Taliban, but following the collapse of local armed forces, their investment is now effectively being used by the insurgents themselves as they bid to control more and more major cities.

Social media in recent days has been awash with clips of fighters seizing weapons caches, but the taking of such high profile helicopters represents a significant statement of intent. 

Fighters were today seen posing on the back of a vehicle in the city of Herat, west of Kabul, after they took the province from Afghan government. The Taliban also seized two more provinces and approached the outskirts of the capital.

It comes as Afghanistan's fourth largest city, Mazar-e-Sharif, fell to the Taliban today after a multipronged assault launched by insurgents. 

Balkh lawmaker Abas Ebrahimzada said the province's national army corps surrendered first, which prompted the pro-government militias and other forces to lose morale and give up in the face of the onslaught.

According to the lawmaker, all of the provincial installations, including the governor's office, are in Taliban hands.

The insurgents have captured much of northern, western and southern Afghanistan in a breakneck offensive less than three weeks before the US is set to withdraw its last troops, raising fears of a full militant takeover or another Afghan civil war.

The Taliban have made major advances in recent days, including capturing Herat and Kandahar, the country's second- and third-largest cities.

They now control about 24 of Afghanistan's 34 provinces, leaving the Western-backed government with a smattering of provinces in the centre and east, as well as Kabul. 

Taliban fighters have seized helicopters as they continue their advance through Afghanistan, which is now approaching the outskirts of Kabul

Taliban fighters have seized helicopters as they continue their advance through Afghanistan, which is now approaching the outskirts of Kabul

A Taliban fighter poses with a US-made Afghan air force Blackhawk helicopter at captured Kandahar airfield

A Taliban fighter poses with a US-made Afghan air force Blackhawk helicopter at captured Kandahar airfield 

A series of videos being shared on social media show insurgents flying the Russian-made aircraft around the city of Kandahar, with concerns continuing to grow over the militants' ongoing grab for power

A series of videos being shared on social media show insurgents flying the Russian-made aircraft around the city of Kandahar, with concerns continuing to grow over the militants' ongoing grab for power


Even more seismic, however, is the evidence that the Taliban have also seized American-made Black Hawk helicopters, made famous in the 2001 Ridley Scott blockbuster


On Saturday, the Taliban captured all of Logar province, just south of the capital, Kabul, and detained local officials, said Hoda Ahmadi, a lawmaker from the province.

Later, the insurgents took over Mihterlam, the capital of Laghman province, northeast of Kabul, without a fight, according to Zefon Safi, a lawmaker from the province.

Insurgents also captured the capital of Paktika, bordering Pakistan, according to Khalid Asad, a lawmaker from the province.

The small province of Kunar, also bordering Pakistan, fell without a fight, according to Neamatullah Karyab, a lawmaker from the area.

The Taliban also took control of Maimana, the capital of northern Faryab province, said Fawzia Raoufi, a lawmaker from the province.

Sayed Hussan Gerdezi, a lawmaker from the neighbouring Paktia province, said the Taliban seized most of its local capital, Gardez, but that battles with government forces were still under way. The Taliban said they controlled the city.

The Taliban also took control of the central province of Daykundi, lawmakers from those areas said.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani delivered a televised speech Saturday, his first public appearance since the recent Taliban gains.

He vowed not to give up the 'achievements' of the 20 years since the US toppled the Taliban after the 9/11 attacks.

The US has continued holding peace talks between the government and the Taliban in Qatar this week, and the international community has warned that a Taliban government brought about by force would be shunned.

But the insurgents appear to have little interest in making concessions as they rack up victories on the battlefield.

'We have started consultations, inside the government with elders and political leaders, representatives of different levels of the community as well as our international allies,' Mr Ghani said.

'Soon the results will be shared with you,' he added, without elaborating further.

The president had flown to Mazar-e-Sharif on Wednesday to rally the city's defences, meeting several militia commanders, including Abdul Rashid Dostum and Ata Mohammad Noor, who command thousands of fighters.

They remain allied with the government, but during previous rounds of fighting in Afghanistan, warlords have been known to switch sides for their own survival.

Ismail Khan, a powerful former warlord who had tried to defend Herat, was captured by the Taliban when the insurgents seized the western city after two weeks of heavy fighting.

The Afghan government pilots who fly the operational Russian helicopters have been turned to the Taliban, while the US helicopters are likely to be grounded by a lack of spare parts from the United States

The Afghan government pilots who fly the operational Russian helicopters have been turned to the Taliban, while the US helicopters are likely to be grounded by a lack of spare parts from the United States

The White House has spent billions of dollars on supplying the Afghan military with the necessary weapons and equipment to wipe out the Taliban, but following the collapse of local armed forces, their investment is now effectively being used by the insurgents themselves as they bid to control more and more major cities

The White House has spent billions of dollars on supplying the Afghan military with the necessary weapons and equipment to wipe out the Taliban, but following the collapse of local armed forces, their investment is now effectively being used by the insurgents themselves as they bid to control more and more major cities

Tens of thousands of Afghans have fled their homes, with many fearing a return to the Taliban's oppressive rule.

The group had previously governed Afghanistan under a harsh version of Islamic law in which women were forbidden to work or attend school, and could not leave their homes without a male relative accompanying them.

Salima Mazari, one of the few female district governors in the country, said she has never even considered surrendering.

'There will be no place for women,' said Ms Mazari, who governs a district of 36,000 people near Mazar-e-Sharif.

'In the provinces controlled by the Taliban, no women exist there any more, not even in the cities. They are all imprisoned in their homes.'

The withdrawal of foreign troops and the swift collapse of Afghanistan's own forces - despite hundreds of billions of dollars in US aid over the years - has raised fears the Taliban could return to power or that the country could be shattered by factional fighting, as it was after the Soviet withdrawal in 1989.

It has also prompted many American and Afghan veterans of the conflict to question whether two decades of blood and treasure was worth it.

Afghans have been streaming into Kabul's international airport in recent days, desperate to fly out, even as more American troops have arrived to help partially evacuate the US embassy.

The Taliban also released a video announcing the takeover of the main radio station in the southern city of Kandahar, which fell to the insurgents earlier this week, renaming it the Voice of Sharia, or Islamic law.

In the video, an unnamed insurgent said all employees were present and would broadcast news, political analysis and recitations of the Koran, the Islamic holy book.

It appears the station will no longer play music. It was not clear if the Taliban had purged the previous employees or allowed them to return to work.   

Meanwhile, the US Embassy in Afghanistan will be evacuated in 72 hours under the protection of the military, and some staffers have already arrived at the Kabul international airport, according to reports.

The seizing of widely-recognised American Blackhawk helicopters, worth some $6m, is considered a significant statement

The seizing of widely-recognized American Blackhawk helicopters, worth some $6m, is considered a significant statement


US defense officials told CBS that it could be just a matter of a couple days before the Taliban seizes control of Kabul, a city with more than four million people. 

Before the middle of next week, everyone will have been evacuated from the Embassy except for special agents from the Bureau of Diplomatic Security Service and top decisionmakers, including the ambassador, CBS reported.  

Security engineers will also stay behind to continue to shred and burn sensitive materials like documents, electronic devices and items with embassy or agency logos, American flags 'or items which could be misused in propaganda efforts.'  

News about the evacuation broke shortly after the Taliban took control of the Afghan northern stronghold of Mazar-i-Sharif Saturday, which was one of the last three major cities under government control.  

'The army is not fighting. It is only Atta (Muhammad) Noor and (Marshal Abdul Rashid) Dostum's militias defending the city,' Mohammad Ibrahim Khairandesh, a former provincial council member who now lives in the city, told The New York Times. 'The situation is critical, and it's getting worse.' 

Dostum is an infamous warlord and a former Afghan vice president who has survived the past 40 years of war by cutting deals and switching sides, and Noor is longtime power broker and warlord in Balkh Province who fought the Soviets in the 1980s and the Taliban in the 1990s, according to The Times. 

The Taliban now controls territories to the North, South and West of Kabul and is squeezing the throat of Afghanistan's capital city, which is where the US Embassy is located and thousands of refugees are trying to flee the country.     

The US military is preparing to lower the American flag over the Embassy - if the State Department gives the order - signaling its closure. 

It comes as Sir Keir Starmer turned up the pressure on the Prime Minister to support the Afghanistan government as he warned the crisis 'undermines the legacy of British soldiers' and raises the terror threat.

The Taliban is now fighting Afghan Government forces just seven miles from Kabul as UK troops head to the capital to evacuate Britons before militants overwhelm the country. 

And Afghan President  Ashraf Ghani is appealing for help from the international community. He said:  'We have started consultations, inside the government with elders and political leaders, representatives of different levels of the community as well as our international allies,' 

The Labour leader Sir Keir suggested the situation in Afghanistan, which has seen the Taliban seize large swathes of the country, now poses the risk of increasing international terrorism.

Discussing the unfolding scenes in the country, Sir Starmer told Sky News: 'We have obligations to Afghanistan, we made promises to Afghanistan, and we cannot just walk away and let this turn into a humanitarian crisis, and probably a refugee crisis as well.

'Because there is a real risk now that international terrorism will take hold again in Afghanistan, so we can't walk away.

'We can't undermine the legacy of the last 20 years. There are families across the country who have lost loved ones. We should be proud of what they did but we can't just turn our backs.' 

The Taliban is now fighting Afghan Government forces just seven miles from Kabul as UK troops head to the capital to evacuate Britons before militants overwhelm the country. Pictured: A Taliban fighter in Afghanistan today

The Taliban is now fighting Afghan Government forces just seven miles from Kabul as UK troops head to the capital to evacuate Britons before militants overwhelm the country. Pictured: A Taliban fighter in Afghanistan today

People arriving from Afghanistan make their way at the Friendship Gate crossing point at the Pakistan-Afghanistan border town of Chaman, Pakistan

People arriving from Afghanistan make their way at the Friendship Gate crossing point at the Pakistan-Afghanistan border town of Chaman, Pakistan

An Afghan policeman stands guard at a checkpoint along the road in Kabul

An Afghan policeman stands guard at a checkpoint along the road in Kabul


The Labour leader's words come as Boris Johnson said on Friday night that it is not 'realistic' to expect outside powers to impose a 'combat solution' on Afghanistan as the Taliban's surging advance closes on Kabul and British and US troops start to arrive to evacuate Westerners. 

The Prime Minister said: 'There isn't a military solution. Thanks to the efforts of the UK armed services and all the sacrifices they made we have seen no al Qaida attacks against the West for a very long time.'

'I think we have got to be realistic about the power of the UK or any power to impose a military solution — a combat solution — in Afghanistan.'

The Taliban is now fighting Afghan Government forces just seven miles from Kabul as UK troops head to the capital to evacuate Britons before militants overwhelm the country.

Taliban fighters have seized more territory just south of Afghanistan's capital and launched a multi-pronged assault on Mazar-e-Sharif, a major city in the north defended by powerful former warlords, today. 

The Taliban captured all of Logar province, just south of the capital, Kabul, and detained local officials, said Hoda Ahmadi, a politician from the province. She said the Taliban have reached the Char Asyab district, just seven miles south of Kabul.

The insurgents have also captured the capital of Paktika, bordering Pakistan, according to Khalid Asad, a lawmaker from the province.

He said fighting broke out in Sharana early Saturday but ended after local elders intervened to negotiate a pullout. He added the governor and other officials surrendered and were on their way to Kabul. 

People, including young children, wait to cross into Afghanistan, at the Friendship Gate crossing point at the Pakistan-Afghanistan border town of Chaman, Pakistan

People, including young children, wait to cross into Afghanistan, at the Friendship Gate crossing point at the Pakistan-Afghanistan border town of Chaman, Pakistan

Refugees flooded the Kabul in recent days as the Taliban continues to circle the city

Refugees flooded the Kabul in recent days as the Taliban continues to circle the city 

A Taliban flag flies from the clocktower of the Herat provincial official office, in Herat, Afghanistan, west of Kabul

A Taliban flag flies from the clocktower of the Herat provincial official office, in Herat, Afghanistan, west of Kabul

A man sells Taliban flags  on a bustling street in the Herat province, west of Kabul, Afghanistan

A man sells Taliban flags  on a bustling street in the Herat province, west of Kabul, Afghanistan

The Taliban have also captured much of northern, western and southern Afghanistan less than three weeks before the United States is set to withdraw its last troops.

Munir Ahmad Farhad, a spokesman for the provincial governor in northern Balkh province, meanwhile said the Taliban attacked the city of Mazar-e-Sharif from several directions, setting off heavy fighting on its outskirts. There was no immediate word on casualties.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had flown to Mazar-e-Sharif on Wednesday to rally the city's defences, meeting with several militia commanders allied with the government.

Today he said he will not give up the 'achievements' of the last 20 years and that 'consultations' are under way, in a brief and vague televised address — his first public appearance in days. 

He said: 'We have started consultations, inside the government with elders and political leaders, representatives of different levels of the community as well as our international allies.

Plumes of smoke rise into the sky after fighting between the Taliban and Afghan security personnel in Kandahar, Afghanistan, southwest of Kabul

Plumes of smoke rise into the sky after fighting between the Taliban and Afghan security personnel in Kandahar, Afghanistan, southwest of Kabul


Taliban fighters stand guard inside the city of Ghazni, southwest of Kabul, Afghanistan, yesterday

Taliban fighters stand guard inside the city of Ghazni, southwest of Kabul, Afghanistan, yesterday

'Soon the results will be shared with you,' he added, without elaborating further.

The Taliban captured much of southern Afghanistan in recent days in a rapid offensive that has raised fears of a full takeover. Their lightning advance has left the Western-backed government in control of a smattering of provinces in the center and east, as well as Kabul and Mazar-e-Sharif.

Foreign forces' withdrawal and the swift retreat of Afghanistan's own troops — despite hundreds of billions of dollars in US aid over the years — has raised fears the Taliban could return to power or the country could be plunged into civil war.

The first Marines from a contingent of 3,000 arrived on Friday to help partially evacuate the US Embassy. The rest are set to arrive by Sunday, and their deployment has raised questions about whether the administration will meet its August 31 withdrawal deadline.

And the first of 600 British troops will land in Kabul today to to evacuate Britons. Boris Johnson said last night there 'isn't a military solution' to be had in Afghanistan.

But today, the former head of the army said Britain should consider launching a humanitarian aid operation to alleviate the growing refugee crisis in Afghanistan. 

The Taliban have completed their sweep of the country's south on Friday, as they took four more provincial capitals

Taliban fighters seized a province just south of Afghanistan's capital and launched a multi-pronged assault on Mazar-e-Sharif, a major city in the north defended by powerful former warlords, today. Pictured: Militants loyal to warlord Ata Mohammad Noor in Mazar-e-Sharif

Taliban fighters seized a province just south of Afghanistan's capital and launched a multi-pronged assault on Mazar-e-Sharif, a major city in the north defended by powerful former warlords, today. Pictured: Militants loyal to warlord Ata Mohammad Noor in Mazar-e-Sharif

Some of the 600 soldiers headed to Kabul to evacuate Britons are pictured on a military transport headed to Kabul

Some of the 600 soldiers headed to Kabul to evacuate Britons are pictured on a military transport headed to Kabul 


Pakistani soldiers stand guard as stranded Afghan nationals return to Afghanistan at the Pakistan-Afghanistan border crossing point in Chaman today

Pakistani soldiers stand guard as stranded Afghan nationals return to Afghanistan at the Pakistan-Afghanistan border crossing point in Chaman today

Lord Dannatt said the country was facing a 'tragedy in the making' with a growing humanitarian crisis centred on Kabul.

'It is okay to extract our British citizens. What about mounting a humanitarian operation in Kabul to look after some of the refugees, to build some camps, bring in some humanitarian supplies?' he told BBC Breakfast.

'At least let's show to the Afghan government we are not completely abandoning them and that we still stand side by side with them. It is quite possible to do that.

'I think our Government should be thinking about that kind of response even though it has now pulled the plug on our wider military response.


'There may come a moment when our last troops have got to go but until that point let us do what we can to help with the humanitarian crisis, even if we have given up helping on the military side.'

Residents of Mazar-e-Sharif expressed fear about the security breakdown.

'The situation is dangerous outside of the city and inside the city,' Mohibullah Khan said, adding that many residents are also struggling economically.

'The security situation in the city is getting worse,' said Kawa Basharat. 'I want peace and stability. The fighting should be stopped.'

The Taliban today released a video in which an unnamed insurgent announced the takeover of the main radio station in the southern city of Kandahar, which fell to the insurgents earlier this week.

The station has been renamed the Voice of Sharia, or Islamic law. He said all employees were present and would broadcast news, political analysis and recitations of the Quran, the Islamic holy book. It appears the station will no longer play music.

It was not clear if the Taliban had purged the previous employees or allowed them to return to work. Most residents of Kandahar sport the traditional dress favored by the Taliban. The man in the video congratulated the people of Kandahar on the Taliban's victory.

The Taliban have operated mobile radio stations over the years, but have not operated a station inside a major city since they ruled the country from 1996-2001. At that time, they also ran a station called Voice of Sharia out of Kandahar, the birthplace of the militant group. Music was banned.

It comes after the Taliban was accuse of tarring men accused of theft and parading them around the streets of newly-captured city Herat with fears that Kabul could fall within days or weeks sparking increasingly urgent evacuation efforts by British and American soldiers. 

The pictures shared by Afghan journalist Bilal Sarway show men tarred in black with nooses around their necks being dragged through the streets by armed gunmen, were shared online in the wake of the Taliban seizing control of Herat on Thursday. 

With the 20th anniversary to 9/11 looming, Afghanistan risks falling to the Taliban after the militant group seized control of two thirds of the nation following the prolonged withdrawal of US and UK troops.

Some reports have claimed that the Taliban is as little as 50 miles from Kabul, but the Pentagon yesterday held a press conference insisting that the Afghan capital is not in immediate danger of falling. 

The blitz through Afghanistan's southern heartland means the insurgents now hold half of the country's 34 provincial capitals and control more than two-thirds of the nation. 

US President Joe Biden, whose announcement of a 31 August withdrawal appears to have led to the collapse of the Afghan National Army is spending a long weekend at Camp David.   

Taliban commanders have 'vowed to enter Kabul like a roaring lion' as their rampage towards the strategic stronghold, and capital of the country, continues.

The Times reports one senior figure saying: 'We will enter Kabul like a roaring lion soon, God willing, hopefully within this month and wrap up the American puppets who are already in a state of fear.

'Their silence on our triumphs in the south and west speaks for itself and they are hiding like cowards.'

Boris Johnson said on Thursday night that it is not 'realistic' to expect outside powers to impose a 'combat solution' on Afghanistan as the Taliban's surging advance closes on Kabul and British and US troops start to arrive to evacuate Westerners. 

The Prime Minister said: 'There isn't a military solution. Thanks to the efforts of the UK armed services and all the sacrifices they made we have seen no al Qaida attacks against the West for a very long time.'

'I think we have got to be realistic about the power of the UK or any power to impose a military solution — a combat solution — in Afghanistan.'

He spoke after the Taliban seized large swathes of Helmand province , where hundreds of UK troops died over more than a decade of fighting that has seen 454 UK personnel killed since 9/11.  

'What we certainly can do is work with all our partners in the region around the world who share an interest with us in preventing Afghanistan once again becoming a breeding ground for terror.'  

After a week of intense fighting saw the Taliban seize control of swathes of the country, the Prime Minister said the UK can be 'extremely proud' of its role in the last 20 years.

But after leading a meeting of the Cobra emergency committee yesterday, Mr Johnson insisted there was no military solution to the deteriorating security situation.  

And he denied that the sacrifices made by British forces in Afghanistan had been in vain.

'I don't think that it was in vain. If you look back at what has happened over the last 20 years there was a massive effort to deal with a particular problem that everybody will remember after 9/11,' he said.

'That was successful. To a very large extent the threat from al Qaida on the streets of our capital, around the UK, around the whole of the West was greatly, greatly reduced.

'I believe it was right, it was worth it and what we must do now is not turn our backs on Afghanistan.'

Some 600 troops are due to deploy to Kabul to evacuate British nationals as a mass exodus begins to escape the ravages of the hardliners.  

He finally addressed the situation after fierce criticism from Labour and even his own MPs over his silence on the issue. 

The pictures, which show men tarred in black with nooses around their necks being dragged through the streets by armed gunmen, were shared online in the wake of the Taliban seizing control of Herat, Afghanistan on Thursday

The pictures, which show men tarred in black with nooses around their necks being dragged through the streets by armed gunmen, were shared online in the wake of the Taliban seizing control of Herat, Afghanistan on Thursday

The men pictured above are purportedly accused of theft, and have been tarred in black and dragged through the streets by armed Taliban sympathisers

The men pictured above are purportedly accused of theft, and have been tarred in black and dragged through the streets by armed Taliban sympathisers 

The armed insurgents celebrated in the streets of Afghanistan's third most populous city, Herat, as the Taliban continue their march eastwards towards Kabul

The armed insurgents celebrated in the streets of Afghanistan's third most populous city, Herat, as the Taliban continue their march eastwards towards Kabul


The crisis worsened on Thursday as the Taliban continued its bloody advance, seizing control of Afghanistan's second largest city Kandahar.

It now controls more than two-thirds of the country and is closing in on the capital Kabul.

Mr Johnson said it was not realistic to expect outside powers to impose a 'combat solution' on Afghanistan.

'There isn't a military solution. Thanks to the efforts of the UK armed services and all the sacrifices they made, we have seen no al-Qaeda attacks against the West for a very long time,' he said.

'I think we have got to be realistic about the power of the UK or any power to impose a military solution, a combat solution, in Afghanistan. What we certainly can do is work with all our partners in the region around the world who share an interest with us in preventing Afghanistan once again becoming a breeding ground for terror.'

Mr Johnson insisted the 457 British military personnel killed in the country had not died 'in vain' and said the military intervention that began 20 years ago was right and had been 'worth it'.

He suggested he had no choice but to pull out troops as he was dealing with the 'consequences' of the US's decision to withdraw.

Tory MPs had earlier accused him of a 'shameful' silence as the situation deteriorated and questioned whether he had done enough to persuade Joe Biden to not pull out US troops.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace yesterday said the US withdrawal was a 'mistake' and the West will 'probably pay the consequences'.

He voiced fears about the resurgence of al-Qaeda – the terror group behind 9/11 – who he warned could plot attacks on British soil.

He told Sky News: 'Of course I am worried, it is why I said I felt this was not the right time or decision to make because, of course, al-Qaeda will probably come back, certainly would like that type of breeding ground.

'That is what we see – failed states around the world lead to instability, lead to a security threat to us and our interests.'

He refused to rule out further military action in the country, telling LBC: 'I'm going to leave every option open. If the Taliban have a message from last time, you start hosting al-Qaeda, you start attacking the West or countries, we could be back.' 

Mr Johnson faced growing calls from some of his own backbenchers as well as opposition party politicians for Parliament to be recalled on Thursday night.

The Lib Dems demanded MPs are brought back from their summer break and shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy said Labour could join the push to hold the Government to account if it did not show a clear strategy.

Tobias Ellwood, the Tory chairman of the Commons defence committee, urged Mr Johnson to call an emergency session of the UN Security Council and to 'consider recall of Parliament to seek views on leading a non-US led coalition and prevent a full scale civil war'.

Grieving families of British soldiers killed in Afghanistan also spoke of their anger as the Taliban captured territory UK troops fought and died to protect.

Donald Trump and the Taliban signed a deal last February for the US to withdraw from Afghanistan. Joe Biden has continued with the withdrawal timetable, with all troops due to have left by the symbolic date of September 11 – the 20th anniversary of the terror attacks on the World Trade Center in New York.

The UK Government announced on Thursday around 600 troops are being deployed to help evacuate British nationals and former Afghan staff.

Meanwhile in Kabul, US troops sent to evacuate embassy staff reportedly started to arrive at the international airport, with more expected over the next 24 hours.

And hundreds of thousands of Afghans have fled their homes amid fears the country will return to the brutal, repressive rule imposed by the previous Taliban government. The UN Refugee Agency said nearly 250,000 Afghans have fled their homes since the end of May. 

The announcement came hours after the Home Office said Home Secretary Priti Patel had taken on the role's responsibilities following criticism of the Government for failing to replace James Brokenshire – who had left the post last month.

The Pentagon claimed on Friday it did not believe Kabul was under imminent threat from the rapid Taliban advance, as the first of 3000 U.S. troops arrived in the Afghan capital to protect embassy staff.

Earlier Taliban fighters seized the country's second and third biggest cities, and their fighters closed to within 50 miles of Kabul.

The speed of their advance has sent Western nations scrambling to bring home civilian staff.

And a defence official told the Associated Press that an attack on Kabul could come within days.

Department of Defense spokesman John Kirby declined to say whether officials were surprised by the way Afghan forces had failed to slow the advance.

'We are certainly concerned by the speed with which the Taliban has been moving,' he said.

'And as we've said from the very beginning, this still is a moment for Afghan national security and defence forces, as well as their political leadership.

'No outcome has to be inevitable here. 

'We're obviously watching this just like you're watching this and seeing it happen in real time, and it's deeply concerning.' 

Instead, he echoed President Biden and other administration officials in insisting that Afghan security forces held the advantage over the Taliban.

'We will do what we can from the air, but they have the advantage,' he said. 'They have greater numbers. They have an air force. They have modern weaponry. It's indigenous forces that can make the difference on the ground.'

The signs so far are that Afghan forces are struggling, despite billions of dollars in U.S. training and equipment. 

Members of the Parachute Regiment are among  the troops being sent to Afghanistan with the Taliban just 90 miles from Kabul

Members of the Parachute Regiment are among  the troops being sent to Afghanistan with the Taliban just 90 miles from Kabul 

Boris Johnson said tonight that it is not 'realistic' to expect outside powers to impose a 'combat solution' on Afghanistan

Boris Johnson said tonight that it is not 'realistic' to expect outside powers to impose a 'combat solution' on Afghanistan

1 comment:

  1. There’s no reason to get upset because the Taliban gaining control of U.S. military equipment. It’s happened before. The NVA captured tons of military equipment when the Americans “bugged out” of Vietnam. Why was half the military materiel stored on Okinawa for the invasion of Japan sent to Korea and Hanoi respectively after the Japanese surrendered? The defense contractors don’t care what happens to their product after it’s sold. They made their billions of dollars and if the government needs more replacement materiel, then, they’re ecstatic to make billions more. The whole thing is one big con job on the America taxpayers. Military materiel and military personnel are expendable in the eyes of the government. What matters is keeping the War Machine going full steam ahead.

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