0631 GMT May 27, 2022
Hundreds of commandos were deployed to the western city of Herat while authorities in the southern city of Lashkar Gah called for more troops to rein in the assaults increased across the country in recent months, according to AFP.
After seizing large tracts of rural territory and capturing key border crossings, the Taliban have started to besiege provincial capitals.
Flights out of Kandahar, Afghanistan’s second-largest city and former bastion of the militants, were halted after rockets struck the airport before dawn.
Airport chief Massoud Pashtun said two rockets had hit the runway and repairs were underway.
The facility is vital to maintaining the logistical and air support needed to keep the Taliban from overrunning the city, while also providing aerial cover for large tracts of southern Afghanistan.
The attack came as the Taliban inched closer to overrunning at least two other provincial capitals, including nearby Lashkar Gah in Helmand Province.
“Fighting is going on inside the city and we have asked for special forces to be deployed in the city,” Ataullah Afghan, head of Helmand provincial council, told AFP.
Further west in the city of Herat, fighting continued on the city’s outskirts overnight with airstrikes targeting Taliban positions.
Herat Provincial Governor’s spokesman Jailani Farhad said that around 100 militants had been killed in the attacks.
On Sunday, the Defence Ministry said that hundreds of commandos had been sent to Herat to help beat back the insurgent assault.
For months, the Taliban’s rapid territorial gains during the final stages of the US military withdrawal have largely been in sparsely populated rural areas.
But in recent weeks they have brought increasing pressure on provincial capitals and seized key border crossings.
The government has repeatedly dismissed the militant’s steady gains over the summer as lacking strategic value.