Timeline: Afghanistan provincial capitals captured by Taliban

The provincial capitals that have fallen to or are being attacked by the armed group as it advances across the nation.

Taliban fighters patrol the city of Farah, capital of Farah province, southwest Afghanistan [Mohammad Asif Khan/AP]

Taliban fighters have made rapid advances across Afghanistan in recent months as the United States and other foreign forces withdraw from the nation 20 years after they invaded.

Here are the provincial capitals that have fallen to or are being attacked by the armed group, which is fighting to reimpose its rule after its government was toppled in 2001.

Afghanistan has 34 provinces in total, with the Taliban now controlling an estimated 65 percent of the country’s territory.

To date, 18 provincial capitals have fallen:

Zaranj, August 6: The Taliban take over the capital of Nimruz province in the south, the first provincial capital to fall to the group since it stepped up attacks on Afghan forces in early May.

Afghans in Zaranj, the first provincial capital to fall to the Taliban since launching its offensive, August 7 [AFP]

Sheberghan, August 7: The Taliban declare they have captured the entire northern province of Jawzjan, including its capital Sheberghan.

Heavy fighting is reported in the city, and government buildings are taken over by the Taliban. Afghan security forces say they are still fighting there.

Sar-e-Pul, August 8: The Taliban take control of Sar-e-Pul, capital of the eponymous northern province. It is the first of three provincial centres that fell on the same day.

An Afghan man on a horse crosses a river in Dah Mard, Sangcharak, Sar-e Pul, 2012 [Qais Usyan/AFP]

Kunduz, August 8: Taliban fighters seize control of the northern city of 270,000 people, regarded as a strategic prize as it lies at the gateway to mineral-rich northern provinces and Central Asia.

Government forces say they are resisting the Taliban from an army base and the airport.

A man cycles past a booth with a Taliban flag in the main square of Kunduz [AFP]

Taluqan, August 8: The capital of Takhar province, also in the north, falls to the Taliban in the evening. They freed prisoners and forced government officials to flee.

Aybak, August 9: The capital of the northern province of Samangan is overrun by Taliban fighters.

Farah, August 10: Local sources confirmed the fall of the capital of the western province of the same name.

Pul-e-Khumri, August 10: The capital of the central province of Baghlan falls to the Taliban, according to officials and residents.

Afghan security forces conducting a poppy eradication operation in Baghlan in 2012 [Jawed Dehsabzi/AP]

Faizabad, August 11: The capital of the northeastern province of Badakhshan is under Taliban control, a provincial council member says.

Ghazni, August 12: The capital of the southeastern province of Ghazni is seized and all local government officials flee to Kabul.

Herat, August 12: The capital of the western province of Herat, Afghanistan’s third-largest city, falls to the Taliban after two weeks of fighting.

Kandahar, August 12: The capital of the southern province of Kandahar is under the armed group’s control.

Lashkar Gah, August 13: The capital of Helmand province in the south is taken over by the Taliban.

Qala-e-Naw, August 13: The capital of the western Badghis province is captured.

Feruz Koh, August 13: Taliban fighters take control of Chaghcharan (Feruz Koh) in Afghanistan’s western Ghor province with no resistance.

Pul-e-Alam, August 13: The Taliban seizes the capital of the central province of Logar and captures the governor and the head of the city’s spy agency.

Terenkot, August 13: The capital of the southern province of Uruzgan is captured and the governor escapes to Kabul.

Qalat, August 13: The capital of Zabul province in Afghanistan’s south becomes the 18th city taken over by the Taliban.

Mazar-i-Sharif, August 14: Taliban fighters take the major northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif.

Pul-e-Alam, August 14:  With little resistance, the capital of Logar province, just 70km (40 miles) south of Kabul, falls to the Taliban.

Jalalabad, August 15: The capital of Nangarhar province is taken over by the Taliban, effectively leaving the capital, Kabul, as the last major urban area under government control.

Kabul, August 15: Taliban fighters surround the Afghan capital as civilians prepare for the armed group’s takeover nearly 20 years after it was toppled in an American-led assault.



Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies