The Taliban have captured Afghanistan’s second-largest city, Kandahar. The southern city was once the Taliban’s stronghold and is strategically important as a trade hub. The insurgents also seized the nearby city of Lashkar Gah and now control about a third of Afghanistan’s provincial capitals. Tens of thousands of civilians have fled the Taliban advance. Many have travelled to the capital Kabul to seek safety and are sleeping on the streets there.
According to the UN more than 1,000 civilians have been killed in Afghanistan in the past month.There are increasing concerns that the militants will continue their rapid offensive toward Kabul. The insurgent advance comes as US and other foreign troops withdraw after 20 years of military operations.
The US is to send nearly 3,000 troops to Kabul airport to evacuate a significant number of embassy staff on special flights. The UK is deploying 600 troops to support British nationals leaving the country. Staff at the British embassy have been reduced to a core team.