Another provincial capital falls amid continuing Taliban offensive

The northern Sar-e Pul province is the latest seized by the militant Islamist force.
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Mountains in Afghanistan
Mountains in Afghanistan
(Spc. Jeffery Harris / U.S. Army Reserve)

The Taliban seized control of another provincial capital in Afghanistan on Monday, according to reports.

The occupation of Sar-e Pul is the latest in a series of rapid advances by the militant Islamist movement, as U.S. and NATO forces complete their exit from the country.

In recent days, the Taliban have begun targeting provincial capitals, following a campaign focused primarily on rural areas. They have also reportedly been targeting senior Afghani government officials in Kabul for assassination.

The Afghan military put up a resistance for a week as Taliban forces descended on Sar-e Pul but have now completely withdrawn, according to Mohammad Noor Rahmani, the council chief of northern Sar-e Pul province.

The fall of the city comes just one day after the Taliban planted their flag in the center of the main square in Kunduz, the capital city of northern Kunduz province. 

Despite the Taliban's gains, which total at least four state capitals in the last week, the Biden administration will forge ahead with its plan to fully remove all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the end of the month. 

Over the past several days, at least 27 children have been killed during fighting between the Taliban and Afghan forces, a figure UNICEF called shocking.

"These atrocities are also evidence of the brutal nature and scale of violence in Afghanistan which preys on already vulnerable children," said the agency on Monday.