The Taliban has captured Afghanistan's second-biggest dam after months of fierce fighting in its former bastion of Kandahar, Afghan officials said Thursday.
The Dahla Dam, which provides irrigation to farmers via a network of canals as well as drinking water for the provincial capital, was now under Taliban control, local officials told AFP.
Haji Gulbuddin, governor of an adjacent district, said: "Our security forces " asked for reinforcements but they failed to get it."
"We have seized the Dahla Dam in Arghandab," Taliban spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi also told AFP.
Dahla was built by the US nearly 70 years ago to provide water for irrigating land in about seven districts of Kandahar.
The dam's capture comes after clashes erupted in neighboring Helmand province this week, just days after the US military formally began withdrawing its remaining troops from Afghanistan.
Burka district in northern Afghanistan captured by Taliban
On Tuesday, Taliban fighters have captured a key district in northern Afghanistan while thousands of civilians have fled their homes in the southern part of the country to escape violent attacks by the group after the withdrawal of US forces from a military base in the area, Afghan officials said on Wednesday.
The rugged Burka district in Baghlan, one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan, fell to the Taliban Tuesday night after the militant group staged an attack on government forces, Javid Basharat, a spokesman for Baghlan's governor, told Arab News.
Security and defense forces tactically, without suffering any losses, withdrew and have plans to recapture it," he added.
The capture of Burka, which links various districts in the region, is being seen as a massive victory for the Taliban after clashes between the group's fighters and Afghan forces intensified across the country last week after the US began withdrawing its remaining troops from the war-torn country after decades of conflict.
Taliban have their eye on Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province, where US forces handed over a pivotal base to the Afghan National Army on Sunday.
Officials said thousands of civilians had fled their homes due to clashes in various parts of Helmand.
Attaullah Afghan, chief of Helmand's provincial council, told Arab News that the "Taliban had captured several posts from the government during the fighting in Lashkar Gah."
The US military has handed over several bases to Afghan forces since Washington signed a landmark deal with the Taliban last year that paved the way for the withdrawal of foreign forces.
The deal signed in February 2020 under the administration of ex-president Donald Trump stipulated that all foreign forces would be withdrawn by May 1, 2021.
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