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People gather near Kandahar city gate in the Eid Gah Darwaza area as Taliban forces raise their flag People gather near Kandahar city gate in the Eid Gah Darwaza area as Taliban forces raise their flag 

Taliban edge toward Kabul

Taliban forces have captured several major cities and now control large swathes of the country.

By Nathan Morley

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has given a public address as the situation worsens in Afghanistan.

Ghani said his focus was on preventing further instability, violence, and displacement of the people. He praised the "courageous" security forces who have been trying to defend the cities from the Taliban.

The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says the situation is spinning out of control and civilians would pay the highest price if the conflict continued.

It is now reported the Taliban forces are nearing the gates of the capital Kabul. The US says an evacuation force of 3,000 troops has begun arriving whilst the UK is sending 600 troops to aid the evacuation of British nationals and former Afghan staff.

Over the last few weeks, the Taliban has continued its lightning offensive and now controls scores of towns and cities in the country.

Violence escalated after American and other international forces began to pull out their troops from the country.

The last week has seen the fall of Kunduz and Kandahar.

Earlier this week, US President Joe Biden said he did not regret withdrawing troops from Afghanistan. A US-led military campaign began in 2001 following the 9/11 attacks but now most of the foreign troops have pulled out.

The UN says more than 1,000 civilians have been killed amid fighting between the Taliban and government forces in the past month.

14 August 2021, 16:05