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News Highlights

  • Heavy fighting between Afghan security forces and the Taliban in the city of Sheberghan, the capital of Jawzjan province, continued for a second consecutive day on Saturday.
  • The security forces are being supported by public forces loyal to Junbish-e-Milli or the National Islamic Movement of Afghanistan led by former Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum.

The strategic city of Sheberghan, the capital of Jawzjan province in northern Afghanistan, fell to the Taliban after one week of clashes, as per media reports.

Sources said that security forces are stationed only at the provincial airport in Khwaja Dako district, which is the hometown of former vice president Marshal Abdul Rashid Dostum and is located 17 kilometers from the city of Sheberghan.

Sheberghan is the second provincial capital to fall to the Taliban in the last two days.

Jawzjan lawmakers blamed the government for inattention to the security situation in Jawzjan and said it has remained indifferent to this matter.

On Saturday morning, an aide to Dostum, Sayed Shamsuddin Sadat, said that at least 150 members of the public uprising forces loyal to Junbish and led by Commander Ali Sarwar have newly arrived in Sheberghan to help other forces on the ground.

Dostum's son Yar Mohammad Dostum is leading the public uprising forces in their fight against the Taliban in Jawzjan, reports said.

Sadat said that some special forces members have also arrived in Sheberghan.

With the fall of Sheberghan, 15 media outlets, including TV stations and radio networks, have stopped operation in the province.

The Defence Ministry said that Afghan forces operations to suppress the Taliban are underway and that the situation in the country's provincial capitals will soon return to normal.

On Friday, Taliban captured Zaranj city, the capital of Nimroz province in southwestern Afghanistan. Zaranj fell to the Taliban with no resistance by government forces.

This comes as President Ghani met with former vice president Marshal Abdul Rashid Dostum on Saturday and discussed the country's security situation, especially the situation in northern provinces, the Presidential Palace said.

In this meeting, Dostum vowed his full support to Afghan forces and said the time has come to make effort for improving the country's security situation and for defending Afghanistan's values.

Dostum's spokesman Ehsanullah Nairo said that Dostum presented his plan for the improvement of the security situation to the president, and it was accepted by President Ghani.

"There will be significant improvements in military affairs," he said.

"A major meeting will be held in the coming days and the most important suggestion by Marshal Dostum to President Ghani was the announcement of an emergency status."

Heavy Fighting In Afghan Provincial Capital Continues

Heavy fighting between Afghan security forces and the Taliban in the city of Sheberghan, the capital of Jawzjan province, continued for a second consecutive day on Saturday.

Since the fighting started on Thursday, the Taliban has so far captured some key areas, including the provincial prison, said a TOLO News report.

Some key areas in the city remained contested for the last 24 hours.

The Taliban took over the provincial Governor's compound on Friday, but it was re-taken by Afghan forces.

However, sources have said that Taliban recaptured the compound and a municipality building.

The security forces are being supported by public forces loyal to Junbish-e-Milli or the National Islamic Movement of Afghanistan led by former Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum.

At least 150 members of the public uprising forces loyal to Junbish and led by Commander Ali Sarwar have arrived in Sheberghan to help other forces on the ground, TOLO News quoted a senior official as saying.

Dostum's son Yar Mohammad is leading the public uprising forces.

This latest development comes as the UN chief in Afghanistan, Deborah Lyons on Friday asked the Taliban to stop attacking Afghanistan's provincial capitals.

The group took over Zaranj city, the capital of Nimroz province, on Friday that was the first province to fall to the Taliban since the announcement of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.

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