Afghan gov't imposes night curfew to stem Taliban advance

Afghan authorities on July 23 imposed a night-time curfew across 31 of the country's 34 provinces to curb surging violence unleashed by a sweeping Taliban offensive in recent months, the interior ministry said.

The widespread Taliban assault has seen the insurgents capture key border crossings, dozens of districts and encircle several provincial capitals since early May when the U.S.-led foreign forces began their final withdrawal.

"To curb violence and limit the Taliban movements a night curfew has been imposed in 31 provinces across the country," except in Kabul, Panjshir and Nangarhar, the interior ministry said in a statement.

The curfew will be effective between 10:00 pm and 4:00 am local time, Ahmad Zia Zia, deputy interior ministry spokesman said in a separate audio statement to reporters.

With the withdrawal of American-led foreign forces all but complete, the resurgent Taliban now controls about half of Afghanistan's roughly 400 districts.

After a brief lull in violence during this week's Muslim holidays of Eid al-Adha, fighting resumed with the authorities claiming to have killed more than 260 Taliban fighters in the past 24 hours across several provinces.

Both the authorities and the Taliban exaggerate their claims which cannot be independently verified.

As the fighting raged in recent weeks, the U.S. military was forced to carry out air strikes "to support" Afghan troops to repel Taliban offensives even as its overall withdrawal continues, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said on July 22.

Experts say a lack of regular U.S. air support since May to Afghan forces on the ground is a key factor in government troops losing lot of territory to the Taliban.

Late on July 23, the Taliban warned the...

Continue reading on: