The Latest: Militants take provincial capital of Khost
The Latest developments on Afghanistan, where a Taliban blitz has taken large swaths of territory just weeks before the final pullout of American and NATO troops:
ISTANBUL — An Afghan official and the Taliban say the militants have seized the provincial capital of Khost.
The capture Sunday makes the capital the latest to fall to the militants since they began their advance over a week ago.
A provincial council member confirmed the capture to the AP. The official spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal.
It leaves Afghanistan’s central government in control of just Kabul and five other provincial capitals out of the country’s 34.
— By Rahim Faiez
TREBON, Czech Republic — Czech leaders have approved a plan to evacuate Afghan staffers at the Czech embassy in Kabul.
The Czechs already had evacuated their own diplomats from the embassy and transported them to Kabul’s international airport.
Czech Foreign Minister Jakub Kulhanek said Afghan staffers are at risk of “death and torture” if they stay, adding, “We simply can’t allow that to happen.”
The announcement Sunday as the Taliban seized the last major city outside of Kabul held by the country’s central government, cutting off the capital to the east.
Defense Minister Lubomir Metnar said the Czechs will help those Afghans who worked with Czech troops during their deployment in NATO missions.
Metnar said his country is ready to take care of Afghan interpreters and their families. “We will relocate those who have asked, to the Czech Republic,” Metnar said.
The evacuation flights should take place in next days.