The strategic city of Sheberghan, the capital of Jawzjan province in northern Afghanistan, fell to the Taliban after one week of clashes, sources confirmed.
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.
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 Defense 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.”