Explainer | 20 Years After Massacring Mazar-e-Sharif, Taliban Back in Afghanistan's Key Strategic City

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This is the third time in about 40 years that Mazar-e-sharif will once again play a role in the military confrontation to gain control of Afghanistan.
After 20 years, the Taliban have launched a multi-pronged assault on Mazar-e-Sharif to gain back control of the major city in northern Afghanistan defended by powerful former warlords. The Taliban has secured multiple launch pads to target Mazar-e-Sharif in the adjoining province of Balkh. After seizing control of militarily neglected Sari-pul, the Taliban has now encircled strategically significant Mazar-e-Sharif from three sides – Kunduz in the east and from Sar-i-Pul and Jowzjan in the west.

Sensing an attack on the Mazar-e-Sharif, India on Tuesday started evacuating its staff from the Afghan city and advised its citizens in Afghanistan to make immediate travel arrangements to return home before commercial air services are discontinued in view of the rapidly escalating violence by the Taliban in several provinces there. The Indian-based staff of the consulate is being evacuated in an aircraft due to the deteriorating security scenario in the city as well as areas around it, people familiar with the development said.

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"A special flight is leaving from Mazar-e-Sharif to New Delhi. Any Indian nationals in and around Mazar-e-Sharif are requested to leave for India in the special flight scheduled to depart late today evening," the Indian consulate in Mazar-e-Sharif tweeted earlier in the day.

This is the third time in about 40 years that Mazar-e-sharif will once again play a role in the military engagement to gain control of Afghanistan.

Strategic Location and Demography

Mazar-e-Sharif or Tomb of the Exalted is situated between the Hindu Kush Mountains and the Amu Darya River, and was known as Bacteria in ancient times. It was a critical junction in the east-west and north-south pathways.

In fact, even to…
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