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Fall of Mazar-e-Sharif: Warlords Rashid Dostum and Mohammad Atta Noor escape to Uzbekistan

Fall of Mazar-e-Sharif: Warlords Rashid Dostum and Mohammad Atta Noor escape to Uzbekistan

Two famous but aging warlords, Rashid Dostum, an ethnic Uzbek and Atta Mohammad Noor have escaped to Uzbekistan, saying they were victims of a conspiracy hatched by the Taliban.

The exit of the two strongmen was followed by the Taliban’s takeover of  the city of Mazar-e-Sharif, mistakenly billed as base for a powerful riposte by the Afghan warlords and the army against the Pakistan backed extremist group.

One of the dramatic talking points of the Taliban’s blitzkrieg which have brought the Taliban nearly to power has been the collapse of the warlords, who had once mounted severe resistance by non-Pashtun groups, led by legendary commander Ahmad Shah Masood, against the Taliban.  Masood was assassinated on September 9, 2001.

Also read:  As Taliban besieges Kabul, political transition in Afghanistan imminent

Apart from Noor and Dostum, Taliban has captured Ismail Khan, the defender of the western Afghanistan.

Noor, attribute the hasty exit of the two veterans as Taliban closed in on Mazhar to a “conspiracy”.

Reuters is reporting inverified pictures on social media of Afghan army vehicles and men in uniforms, accumulating on the Hairatan bridge—an iron structure over the Amu Darya that links Afghanistan to Uzbekistan.

"Despite our firm resistance, sadly, all the government and the #ANDSF equipments were handed over to the #Taliban as a result of a big organised & cowardly plot," Noor wrote on Twitter.

Also read:  Taliban capture all major cities in Afghanistan, only Kabul remains

Earlier Taliban spokesperson ZabiHullah has tweeted that Mazar-e-Sharif, the possible base for resistance to the Taliban has fallen to the group, adding more pressure on the Afghan government that their cause is completely lost.

“Mazar-e-Sharif, the capital of Balkh province, was also conquered. Recently, the governor's office, police headquarters, intelligence, 2 Shaheen corps, Qala-e-Jangi and Dehdadi district centre, police headquarters and all facilities were completely conquered. Much of the vehicles, weapons and equipment fell into the hands of the Mujahideen. Come on in, take a look.”

In Kabul, the process of political transition has gathered frenetic pace. Already the name of Mullah Ghani Baradar, the face of the Taliban who could take over the reins of power, is circulating in social media circles. He is already holding talks with the Ghani government to negotiate an unequal power sharing deal,  where Taliban representatives would be dominant.

Taliban has besieged Kabul but is unlikely to enger the city till the change of guard is complete and the US and NATO country embassies have been evacuated.