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‘They sold us out’: Afghans in disbelief over Taliban gains




Residents in Herat and Kandahar say they cannot believe how quickly both cities fell after the Taliban’s weeks-long effort to take two of Afghanistan’s largest cities.

“They literally sold us out, there was no government resistance,” one female resident of Kandahar told Al Jazeera, fighting back tears late on Thursday evening.

“I never imagined that Kandahar would be taken so easily,” she said echoing a sentiment made by Afghans across the country when the Taliban was blazing through the districts since it stepped up an offensive in May after the United States began the final withdrawal of its forces from the country.


A supporter of a local anti-Taliban militia known as an “uprising force” in the western city of Herat agreed.

“The fact that all these places are being handed over, watch: Kabul and Mazar-i-Sharif will be next,” he said referring to two of the last remaining big cities still in government hands.

The Taliban has taken control of 18 of Afghanistan’s 34 provincial capitals since August 6.

In the week since the Taliban took its first provincial capital, no government official, including President Ashraf Ghani, has publicly admitted to losing a single province.

For many people, the back-to-back falls on Thursday of Kandahar and Herat, the nation’s second and third largest cities, was a turning point in an increasingly violent battle between the forces of the Kabul government and the Taliban.

“I still can’t believe how this happened,” said one government worker from Herat who currently resides in Kabul.

There was also curiosity on the first official day of Taliban control in Herat and Kandahar.

One resident in Herat said that early on Friday morning, people went out to “see the Taliban”. Online videos showed crowds of people gathered in the streets to catch a glimpse of a group they had not seen in the city in 20 years.

In Kandahar, a young man in his 20s said the group was in a celebratory mood, firing bullets into the air to signal its success. Aljazeera

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