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In this picture taken on August 13, 2021, a Taliban fighter holds a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) along the roadside in Herat, Afghanistan's third biggest city, after government forces pulled out the day before following weeks of being under siege. (Photo by AFP)

Afghanistan conflict

The Taliban have tightened their territorial stranglehold around the Afghan capital, Kabul, as they expand their control across the country. Taliban militants are now camped just 50 kilometers away from Kabul, fueling fears of an assault on the city. Kabul is the last stand for government forces as well as thousands of Afghan refugees who flooded the city following Taliban’s advances across the country. The group has accelerated its offensive in recent days, capturing 18 provincial capitals, including Kandahar and Herat. It is estimated that they are now in control of nearly two-thirds of the country. The US and a host of European countries have begun deploying thousands of troops to help evacuate their diplomats and nationals from Afghanistan.

US drone downed

The Yemeni Army says it has shot down a US spy drone in Ma’rib province. Spokesman for the Yemeni military, Yahya Saree, announced the American Scan Eagle drone was conducting an operation in Madghal area when it was brought down. He said the military has recorded footage of the downing of the unmanned aerial vehicle, which, he said will be aired on Yemeni media soon. Ma'rib has been a flashpoint of fighting between the Yemeni army and Saudi-backed militants in recent months. The Yemeni military, backed by Ansarullah forces, has been engaged in fierce battles to regain control of Ma'rib, the last stronghold of Saudi-backed militants in Yemen.

US terrorism threat

The US Department of Homeland Security has issued a new terrorism threat advisory. In its bulletin, the department has warned that the US faces threats from domestic and foreign terrorists. The department says fresh COVID-19 restrictions to contain the spread of the Delta variant could spark violent attacks by extremists. According to the department, pandemic-related issues may provoke more violence this year. The department has also sounded the alarm about possible terrorist activities around the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks. It says New York and Washington could be subject to what it calls targeted violence by US-based individuals inspired from abroad.

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