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HomePoliticsWorldTaliban captures Afghan commander Ismail Khan; Herat falls

Taliban captures Afghan commander Ismail Khan; Herat falls

Taliban entered Herat, an urban centre in Afghanistan’s west near the border of Iran and the country’s third most populous city, yesterday

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The Taliban has captured Ismail Khan, the prominent local commander who fought on behalf of the Afghanistan government in the city of Herat.

Khan, who was one of the highest-profile commanders fighting for the Afghan government, was handed over with the provincial governor and security officials as part of an agreement with the Taliban, said provincial council member Ghulam Habib Hashimi on Friday.

He gave no further details of the agreement.

Khan’s capture, which was later confirmed by Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, comes amid an offensive that has seen 18 provincial capitals fall from government control in just over a week.

Taliban terrorists entered the city of Herat, a major urban centre in Afghanistan’s west near the border of and the country’s third most populous city, on Thursday.

Photos and videos showing Khan, believed to be in his 70s, apparently in the hands of the Taliban terrorists, were widely shared on social media, although they could not immediately be verified.

A spokesman for Khan later told AFP news agency the commander had been allowed to return to his residence following negotiations with the Taliban.

Afghan fighters and supporters of Ismail Khan gather at his home in July [File: Hoshang Hashimi/AFP]

Khan is widely known as the “Lion of Herat”, with his involvement in the country’s wars stretching back to the anti-government uprising that helped trigger the 1979 Soviet intervention, which he fought against throughout the 1980s. His return to the front lines in July was a clear sign of the growing threat to the city, and his fighters had been credited with blunting the advance of the Taliban.

One official said that Afghan government forces had agreed to withdraw from Herat airport, 15km (nine miles) from the city, and the Corps commander’s headquarters, the last centres under their control.

However, other sources said Afghan forces were still at the airport as of 1 PM local time (08:30 GMT) on Friday.

“The Taliban agreed that they will not pose any threat or harm to the government officials who surrendered,” said Hashimi. He added the city had become a “ghost town” amid the fighting. “Families have either left or are hiding in their houses,” said Hashimi.

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Reutershttps://www.sirfnews.com/
Reuters is an international news organization owned by Thomson Reuters. It employs some 2,500 journalists and 600 photojournalists in about 200 locations worldwide. The agency was established in London in 1851 by the German-born Paul Reuter. It was acquired by the Thomson Corporation in 2008 and now makes up the media division of Thomson Reuters.

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