As U.S. Troops Withdraw from Afghanistan, Gov’t Turns to Armed Volunteers to Fight Taliban

Taliban fighters are escalating their offensive across much of Afghanistan, attacking major cities and seizing more territory as the U.S. military withdrawal from the country nears completion after nearly 20 years of war. The Taliban now reportedly control a third of all 421 districts and district centers in Afghanistan. Taliban representatives met with the Afghan government in Iran for high-level peace talks and said in a joint statement that “war is not the solution” to the country’s problems. We go to Kabul to speak with reporter Ali Latifi, who says Afghan security forces are arming local groups across the country to oppose the Taliban. “They’re really putting a lot of weight behind these uprising movements,” says Latifi. “It’s really a big gamble at this moment.” We also speak with Sima Samar, longtime Afghan women’s and human rights defender who previously served as the country’s minister of women’s affairs, who says the U.S. should have waited until a firm ceasefire was in place between warring factions before removing troops. “The withdrawal was not in the right time,” she says. “Afghanistan should not be abandoned.”

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