Taliban captures Bagram military prison, 25 km north of Kabul, frees prisoners

The Taliban have taken control of Bagram Prison located at Bagram Air Base, and freed prisoners, mostly Taliban fighters, who were imprisoned there.

Bagram Air Base, also known as Bagram Airfield, is now under Taliban control. According to Bagram district chief Darvesh Roufi, Afghan forces surrendered to the Taliban at the country’s largest US military base.

The Bagram prison was controlled by US forces stationed in Afghanistan. Following the decision to withdraw US troops from the country, control of the prison was handed over to the Afghan Armed Forces on 1 July. Both Taliban and Islamic State group fighters were jailed.

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In a nationwide attack that has taken just over a week, the Taliban have defeated, co-opted or sent Afghan security forces fleeing wide areas of the country, even though they had some air support from US forces.

They reached Kabul on Sunday. Three Afghan officials told The Associated Press that the Taliban were in the capital’s Kalakan, Karabagh and Pagman districts and were awaiting a “peaceful transfer” of the city after promising not to take the city by force.

Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen told Qatar’s al-Jazeera English satellite news channel that the insurgents were in the process of negotiating with the government.

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But when pressed on what kind of settlement the Taliban wanted, Shaheen admitted that they were seeking an unconditional surrender by the central government.

Taliban negotiators went to Rashtrapati Bhavan on Sunday to discuss the transfer, said an Afghan official, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation. It is not clear when this transfer will take place.

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(with inputs from AP)

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