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Taliban captures Mazarf-i-Sharif in major win as grip on country grows

Islamist military group has swept over country as U.S. pulls back.

Updated: August 14, 2021 - 1:41pm

The Taliban on Saturday captured the critical Afghanistan commercial hub of Mazar-i-Sharif, sending the country's provincial government fleeing and handing the Islamist military group a huge win in its ongoing sweep over much of the country. 

Government officials have reportedly fled to the Uzbekistan border as the Taliban sealed its hold on the northern city. Intelligence officials have warned that the offensive could reach the country's capital of Kabul within as little as a month. 

The offensive ramped up earlier this year as the U.S. began significantly winding down its troop presence in the country after 20 years of military activity there. The Taliban since the start of the campaign has more than tripled the number of districts it controls. 

The U.S. this week re-committed around 3,000 troops to assist in evacuation efforts for American officials and coalition allies. 

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