Afghan leaders hold ‘chaotic’ talks as Taliban captures Mazar-i-Sharif

Afghan leaders hold ‘chaotic’ talks as Taliban captures Mazar-i-Sharif

Taliban insurgents isolated Afghanistan’s capital on Sunday with the capture of the eastern city of Jalalabad, leaving President Ashraf Ghani’s government with few options after the country’s armed forces were routed in the space of 10 days.

In a special meeting at the Presidential Palace in Kabul on Saturday, Mr Ghani announced the formation of a negotiating team aimed at unifying the government against the Taliban advance.

But it did not take long for fissures to emerge within the negotiating team, with a senior security source in Kabul telling The National that Mr Ghani was “under a lot of pressure” and that the US and other international leaders were urging him to resign.

Mr Ghani’s hopes of resisting the insurgents all but crumbled after they captured the northern stronghold of Mazar-i-Sharif later on Saturday and Jalalabad on Sunday.

Unconfirmed reports from Paghman, a city in Kabul province to the west of the capital, said Taliban fighters had been seen in the area on Sunday.

Read full report on The National