Integrity Score: 140
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Chapter 2 continues…
In this way the Taleban captured provinces on after the other in their bid to take over power in the capital and they declared their intention to establish a pure Islamic government in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, they also expanded westwards by capturing the provinces of Farah and Nimroz and they approached Herat. To capture the province of Herat from the forces of Ismael Khan, the Taleban deployed a massive mobile force using the Saudi donated pickup trucks and attacked Ismail Khan’s forces on the main road. The Taleban armed with ZU anti-aircraft, cannons, and BM-21 multiple-barreled rocket launchers, ambushed Ismail Khan’s units and cut off their over-stretched logistics and supply routes.
Forces led by Ismail Khan suffered heavy casualties, and the Taleban forces recaptured Grishk on August 26, 1995. Although Khan gathered his forces several times, lack of support reduced the morale of his men. On September 4, the Taleban captured the Shindand military air base, while General Dostam’s planes bombarded the Herat airport and city. The Taleban launched an offensive on Herat the next day, and Ismail Khan fled to Iran.
The fall of Herat was a very significant change in the power balance against Rabbani’s government in Kabul. The threat that emanated from the powerful commander Ismail Khan was diluted and allowed the Taleban to concentrate their military deployment on the southern front towards Kabul. By controlling Herat, the Taleban were able to secure the transit road connecting Pakistan to Central Asia, which was also a political victory for attracting external support and attention.
The Taleban established their administration in these newly captured territories and opened the transit trade between Pakistan and Turkmenistan. For one year, the Taleban strengthened their military and civil administration muscle and prepared a strategic plan to capture Kabul. On September 5, 1996, the Taleban launched a massive offensive in eastern Afghanistan and captured parts of Paktia that was controlled by Hekhmatyar’s forces.
To be continued…