Public uprising forces increase as Taliban intensify offensives

Hundreds of former Afghan Mujahideen and other residents of northern Kabul held a rally on Wednesday, supporting Afghan security forces in their fight against the Taliban.

Taliban insurgents have conducted a wave of offensives in Afghanistan‘s north in recent days, moving beyond their southern strongholds as international forces withdraw.

Fierce fighting between the Taliban and Afghan government forces has taken place on the outskirts of three provincial capitals in the northern provinces of Faryab, Balkh and Kunduz provinces in recent days, officials said.

In northern Afghanistan, the Taliban captured the town of Shir Khan Bandar, a dry port on the border with Tajikistan, sending customs workers and members of the security forces fleeing to safety over the border.

Since the United States announced plans in April to withdraw its troops with no conditions by Sept. 11 after nearly 20 years of conflict, violence has escalated throughout the country as the Taliban seeks more territory.

Peace talks in Doha have largely stalled, officials say, though there have been meetings in recent days and the Taliban say they are committed to talks.

The United States began withdrawing troops on May 1 and has handed some bases over to the Afghan government, which has since given up some areas to the Taliban without a fight.