The Taliban has taken control of Afghanistan’s second-largest city as their forces captured the city of Kandahar, along with Lashkar Gar in Helmand Province as they strengthen their grip on the south.
Kandahar is the birthplace of the Taliban movement and is the 12th provincial capital out of the country’s 34 that they have seized in their week-long campaign.
Officials there say that the city fell on Thursday night but that government officials made it to their airport before fleeing to safety.
Taliban forces have also captured Lashkar Gah, according to Afghan officials, the capital of the southern province of Helmand.
The loss of Helmand’s provincial capital comes after years of toil and blood spilled by US, UK and allied Nato forces.
The rapidly deteriorating security situation has seen the United States announces that it will send in 3,000 troops to help evacuate personnel from the US Embassy in Kabul.
The Pentagon says that one Army and two Marine infantry battalions will enter Afghanistan within the next two days to assist at the Kabul airport with the partial evacuation.
Hundreds of Marines are already on the ground of the embassy complex in Kabul and are responsible for evacuating the embassy, which has a staff of 4.000 – including 1.400 Americans.
Great Britain has said it will also send 600 troops into the country to help support British nationals as they leave.
Although Kabul itself is not under any imminent threat, the Taliban now control two-thirds of the country.
US military officials have told the White House that they believe Kabul could be overrun by the Taliban in as little as 30 to 90 days, officials told The Washington Post.
That is far quicker than an initial US projection that it could take between six and 12 months for that to occur.
The Taliban took Kandahar in the 1990s after claiming the country as an Islamic state, but were forced out when US troops invaded the country in 2001.
The city’s airport was a main base for US and NATO troops, before being handed back to the Afghanistan government in May.
Earlier this week Joe Biden said he did not regret his administration’s decision to pull out of Afghanistan and end the 20-year campaign there, a move which will be completed by 31 August.
“I do not regret my decision. We spent over a trillion dollars, over 20 years. We trained and equipped with modern equipment over 300,000 Afghan forces … they’ve got to fight for themselves,” he said.