War in Afghanistan
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani calls for a conditional cease-fire with Taliban insurgents for the duration of the Eid al-Adha holiday.
Sources: Al Jazeera Fox News
Sources: Al Jazeera Fox News
The Taliban captures the eastern Logar Province and seizes seven more provincial capitals, Gardez, Sharana, Asadabad, Maymana, Mihtarlam, Nili and Mazar-i-Sharif, as heavy fighting is reported amid a rapid advance of the group towards the capital Kabul. Mazar-i-Sharif had been visited on Wednesday by President Ashraf Ghani.
The Taliban captures its ninth provincial capital in six days, seizing Fayzabad, the capital of Badakhshan Province, amid a rapid advance in northern Afghanistan. The capture comes as President Ashraf Ghani appeals to local warlords to confront and fight the Taliban. The jihadist group also takes control of Kunduz Airport, after hundreds of Afghan National Security Forces personnel in the area surrender with all of their military equipment.
The Taliban tightens its grip in many districts and cities in northern Afghanistan as Afghan President Ashraf Ghani calls on local militias to fight the armed group. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby says that the United States is willing to continue their airstrike campaign against the Taliban but warned that "it is up to the Afghan government to defend themselves" and also added that "it is their struggle".
President Ashraf Ghani blames the worsening security situation in Afghanistan on the sudden withdrawal of U.S. troops amid a rapid advance of the Taliban across the country. Ghani warns that the Islamist group has not severed ties with other terrorist groups. The Taliban rejects Ghani's statement.
Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen says that the Islamist group "does not want to monopolize" Afghanistan, pointing to past failed attempts by countries to do so. Shaheen also says that women's rights under the Taliban would now be respected, although women would still need to wear a headscarf or hijab and have a male relative as a companion in order to leave their house. Shaheen also accused President Ashraf Ghani of being a "warmonger" and said that "no one wants a civil war in Afghanistan".
President Ashraf Ghani names Bismillah Khan Mohammadi as his new defense minister and Abdul Sattar Mirzakwal as the new interior minister, replacing their respective predecessors amid a deteriorating security situation, with foreign forces withdrawing from the country and the Taliban gaining territory, capturing six more districts.
Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani rejects the United States peace plans, but says that he is open to holding a new presidential election in six months.
Afghanistan's Loya Jirga approves to release 400 "hard-core" Taliban prisoners after deliberation. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani says he will sign the order and that doing this, the Afghan government complies with the Taliban demand of freeing prisoners to start intra-Afghan peace talks.
The Taliban rejects the government's conditional prisoner release order announced by President Ashraf Ghani. The Taliban demand 5,000 Taliban prisoners held by the government be released before intra-Afghan dialogue can be initiated.
The Taliban announce a three-day Eid ceasefire with the Afghan authorities, according to Pajhwok Afghan News. On Thursday, President Ashraf Ghani announced a ceasefire with the Taliban from June 12–19.