Taliban detain ‘Lion of Herat’, seize 16th Afghan city

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The Taliban have detained veteran militia commander Mohammad Ismail Khan after seizing the western city of Herat, a provincial council member said.

The insurgents also captured three more provincial capitals as they press a lightning offensive that is gradually encircling the capital, Kabul.

Khan, who has been leading fighters against the Taliban in recent weeks, was handed over to the insurgents along with the provincial governor and security officials under a pact, provincial council member Ghulam Habib Hashimi told Reuters.

“The Taliban agreed that they will not pose any threat or harm to the government officials who surrendered,” Hashimi said.

Khan is one of Afghanistan’s most prominent warlords. Known as the Lion of Herat, he battled Soviet occupiers in the 1980s and was a key member of the Northern Alliance whose US-backed forces toppled the Taliban in 2001.

Meanwhile, the militant group has taken the provincial capitals, Pul-e Alam, Feruz Koh, Qala-e Naw and Lashkar Gah within hours after capturing Herat and Kandahar cities.

It so far has control over 16 provincial capitals across Afghanistan, AL Jazeera reported.

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