The Taliban have captured half of Afghanistan's provincial capitals over the last week, with the insurgents showing no signs of slowing their lightning offensive as they threaten to isolate Kabul and topple the Afghan government.
The latest: The Taliban on Friday swept through the capitals of Ghor (Chaghcharan) and Helmand (Lashkar Gah), the latter of which was at the center of operations by U.S., British and NATO troops over the last 20 years.
- The militants also captured the capitals of Uruzgan province (Tirin Kot) and Zabul (Qalat) in the south overnight.
- On Thursday, the Taliban took the second- and third-largest cities in Afghanistan — Kandahar and Herat, respectively — as well as Ghazni, which is less than 100 miles from Kabul. Kandahar is the birthplace of the Taliban movement, delivering the insurgents a massive symbolic victory.
- The U.S. announced Thursday that it will shrink down to a "core diplomatic presence" in Kabul due to the deteriorating security situation, and will send 3,000 troops to the city's international airport to assist in an evacuation effort.
This story and map will be updated if more capitals are captured.