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As the Taliban continues to seize more territory and key cities, leaders around the globe have voiced their considerations regarding human rights violations by the extremist cluster.

Violence in Afghanistan escalated dramatically when the US and other international forces launched the ultimate stage of troop withdrawal following a 20-year occupation of the country.

A lightning offensive by the Taliban in Afghanistan seized control of three major cities on Friday — together with Kandahar, the state’s second-largest, authorities said.

In addition to Kandahar, militant fighters also took management of Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province, and Herat, the state’s third-largest city.

Rebels conjointly seized Feroz Koh, the provincial capital of Ghor, giving the Taliban bigger momentum toward tackling Kabul two weeks before the official finish date of the U.S. military withdrawal.

Taliban officials said the group seized “tons of weapons, vehicles and ammunition” and took over government offices, police headquarters, prisons, and different operational centers in Kandahar.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that “horrifying” reports have emerged that the Taliban have severely restricted the rights of Afghan women and girls in areas they need to be seized. “I’m… deeply disturbed by early indications that the Taliban are imposing severe restrictions on human rights in the areas below their management, particularly targeting women and journalists,” Guterres told reporters on Friday.

“It is significantly horrifying and heartbreaking to work out reports of the exhausting-won rights of Afghan women and women being ripped away,” he added.

Food and medical provides are dwindling and crucial infrastructure, as well as schools and clinics, has been destroyed, he said. The UN has appealed to neighboring countries to stay their borders open, to permit people to reach safety.

More than 1000 civilians were killed in Afghanistan in the past month alone, in line with the UN.

“Many [government] troopers surrendered and the remainder fled,” Afghan Parliament member Gul Ahmad Kamin told CNN.

Kamin said he reached a military base close to Kandahar and was awaiting a flight out of the city.

Herat fell after insurgents took management of the key government facilities. Herat’s police chief, Gov. Mohammad Ismail Khan, the deputy security minister, and different military commanders surrendered to the Taliban, Tolo News reported.

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