The Taliban radical movement (banned in Russia) has declared it took control over the city of Mazar-i-Sharif, the capital of Balkh province in northwestern Afghanistan, Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban spokesman, wrote on Twitter, Trend reports citing TASS.
"The city of Mazar-i-Sharif, the capital of Balkh province, has just fell to our control. A few minutes ago, the governor, the police chief, the intelligence service <...> and other government bodies of the province were completely captured," the tweet says.
According to Al Arabiya TV channel, the government forces surrendered the city without fighting, abandoned their positions and arms and fled. Sporadic clashes are ongoing on the outskirts of the city.
Reuters reports that the security forces, which have fled Mazar-i-Sharif, are heading to the Uzbekistan border.
After the US announced the end of its military operation in Afghanistan and started pulling out the troops, the Taliban mounted an offensive against government forces. According to various sources, the radicals are in control of up to 85% of the country’s territory, including areas on the borders with Iran, China, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. The Taliban forces have captured over half of the country’s provincial capitals, including the city of Puli Alam, some 50 kilometers from Kabul.