The Taliban seized more major cities on Friday as they raced to take full control of Afghanistan and inched closer to Kabul, with the United States and Britain deploying thousands of troops to evacuate their citizens from the capital.
The government has now effectively lost most of the country following an eight-day blitz into urban centres by the Taliban that has also stunned Kabul's American backers.
The first wave of the offensive was launched in early May after the United States and its allies all but withdrew their forces from Afghanistan, with President Joe Biden determined to end two decades of war by September 11.
Hundreds of thousands have been displaced by the fighting that has enveloped the country.
In recent days, Kabul has been swamped by the displaced, who have begun camping out in parks and other public spaces, sparking a fresh humanitarian crisis in the already overtaxed capital.
Header image: A stranded Afghan family waits for the reopening of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border-crossing point in Chaman on August 13, after the Taliban took control of the Afghan border town. — AFP