Taliban complete northeast Afghan blitz as more cities fall

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) – Officials says the Taliban seized three more Afghan provincial capitals and a local army headquarters.

The insurgents now control some two-thirds of the nation as the U.S. and NATO finalize their withdrawal after decades of war.

The fall of the capitals of Badakhshan and Baghlan provinces to the northeast and Farah province to the west put increasing pressure on the country’s central government to stem the tide of the advance, even as its lost a major base in Kunduz on Wednesday.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani rushed to Balkh province to seek help pushing back the insurgents from warlords.

The province is already surrounded by Taliban-held territory. He also replaced his army chief of staff.