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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Afghanistan: Three rockets hit Kandahar airport

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Three rockets hit the airport overnight in Kandahar, the capital of southern Afghanistan, on the outskirts of which fierce fighting has been raging between the Taliban and government forces for several weeks, officials told AFP.

"Two of the rockets caused damage to the runway" and "because of this, all flights to and from the airport were canceled," said Kandahar Airport chief Massoud Pastun, confirming information he had given earlier in the day. Civil Aviation Authority in Kabul.

For his part, Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Islamist insurgents, said the airport had been hit to stop "enemy airstrikes", Reuters news agency reported.

The Taliban, which has been waging a large-scale offensive across the Asian country for three months, has been besieging Kandahar, the cradle of the Islamist movement. They have reached the borders of the second most populous Afghan city (650.000 inhabitants).

With the raids taking place in parallel with the final withdrawal of foreign troops from the country, which is now almost complete, the Taliban have occupied vast areas, mainly in the provinces.

The insurgents have been threatening several provincial capitals for several days now: in addition to Kandahar, they are besieging Herat, Afghanistan's third most populous metropolis in the west (600.000 inhabitants), and Laskar Gah, the capital of southern Helmand province. , adjacent to Kandahar Province.

The fall of Kandahar, the epicenter of the Taliban regime when they seized power in Afghanistan (1996-2001), imposing their own, fundamentalist version of Islamic law, would be a disaster for the Afghan authorities.

Afghan forces, which so far have shown only weak resistance to the Islamist insurgency, now control only major roads and provincial capitals.

SOURCE: RES-EBA

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