Timeline: Rapid advance of the Taliban across Afghanistan

Courtesy - BBC News

Taliban capture more than two-thirds of Afghanistan including its capital Kabul.

By Kusumika Das

New Delhi

It has taken a little over four months from the time US President Joe Biden announced the final withdrawal to the fall of Kabul to the Taliban. The Taliban insurgents enter the Afghan presidential palace.

Here are the major milestones:

·     April 14, 2021 – Biden announces the final withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan starting on May 1 and wrapping up by September 11.  “It’s time to end America’s longest war,” he says.

He also adds that the remaining 3500 troops in Afghanistan will be withdrawn regardless of whatever progress is made in intra-Afghan peace talks or the Taliban reduces its attacks on Afghan security forces and citizens.

Courtesy – Republic World
  • May 4, 2021 – Taliban fighters launch a major offensive on Afghan forces in southern Helmand province, as well as attack in at least six other provinces.
  • May 11, 2021 – Taliban capture the Nerkh district as violence escalates throughout the country.
  • June 7, 2021 – More than 150 Afghan soldiers are killed in 24 hours as fighting worsens, say the government officials.
  • June 22, 2021 – Taliban fighters launch a series of attacks in the north of the country. 50 of 370 districts are taken over by the Taliban, says the UN envoy for Afghanistan.
  • July 2, 2021 – American troops quietly pull out of their main military base, Bagram Air Base. Thus, US involvement in the war comes to an end.
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  • July 5, 2021 – The Taliban say they could present a written peace proposal to the Afghan government as soon as August.
  • July 21, 2021 – Taliban insurgents control about a half of the country’s districts, says the senior U.S. general, underlining the scale and speed of their advance.
  • July 25. 2021 – The United States promises to continue to support Afghan troops “in the coming weeks” with intensified airstrikes to help them counter Taliban attacks.
  • July 26, 2021 – The UN says nearly 2,400 Afghan civilians were killed or wounded in May and June in escalating violence, the highest number for those months since records started in 2009.
  • August 6, 2021 – Zaranj, the south of the country becomes the first provincial capital to fall to the Taliban in years.
  • August 11, 2021 – Afghan President Ghani arrives in Mazar-E-Sharif city for a trip amid a challenging security situation.
  • August 12, 2021 – Envoys from the United States, China, India and other states call for an accelerated peace process in Doha for Afghanistan as a “matter of great urgency” and for an immediate halt to attacks on provincial capitals and cities in Afghanistan.
  • August 13, 2021 -The Doha meetings which aimed at bringing peace across Afghanistan fail from all its aspects.

 Four more provincial capitals fall in a day, including Kandahar, the country’s second city and spiritual home of the Taliban. In the west, another key city, Herat, is overrun and veteran commander Mohammad Ismail Khan, one of the leading fighters against the Taliban, is captured.

Courtesy – Aljazeera
  • August 14, 2021 – The Taliban take the major northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, followed by Pul-e-Alam, the capital of Logar province just 70 km south of Kabul.

The United States sends more troops to help evacuate its civilians from Kabul as Afghan President Ashraf Ghani says he is consulting with local and international partners on the next steps.

“We have won the war, America has lost.”, says Taliban.

  • August 15, 2021 – The Taliban take the key eastern city of Jalalabad without a fight.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani leaves Afghanistan, confirms AP.

Taliban insurgents enter Kabul as the US evacuates its diplomatic staff from its embassy in Kabul, according to an interior ministry official.  

Taliban takes control of the Presidential Palace in Kabul.