Fifteen years of security that Britain helped build at Lashkar Gah have passed in just 13 days.
The city that was the center of the British campaign in Afghanistan is now under Taliban control.
Since 2002 248 British soldiers have died trying to secure the Greater Helmand region, more than half of all British personnel have died in the war.
Sky News analyzed the key locations of the group’s recent breakthrough to show how Lashkar Gah fell.
Key locations of the conflict were Lashkar Gah Airport, Peace Square, Bost University, Police Headquarters, Emergency Hospital, Helmand Intelligence Service, and the Helmand Governor’s Office. .
The Taliban enter Lashkar Gah, arriving from the direction of the airport.
24 hours later, District 1 would be under Taliban control and the district commander surrendered.
The Helmand Central Intelligence Department was then the only place in the area held by government forces.
The next morning on Taliban say they captured the 7th district of Lashkar Gah near where British forces were previously stationed.
The Taliban The flag flies over Place de la Paix, one of the city’s main crossroads.
They also take television and radio stations, broadcasting from a radio studio.
Taliban the media proclaim:
After 20 years of delay, the Voice of Sharia resumed broadcasting in Lashkar Gah.
The highlighted building is the University of Bost, where the Taliban to take a position.
It is a university building that the Taliban say was the target of US airstrikes.
The Prefecture of Police, in the center of this photo, is under siege by Taliban forces in buildings highlighted to the northeast.
The battle continues in the 2nd arrondissement in the city center. Government forces regain control of the university before the Taliban counter attack.
6 – 10 AOT
A city hospital tweets its contact details, hoping to avoid damage from the bombing. Another clinic, pictured below, is hit by an airstrike.
6 – 10 AOT
Fighting continues for days in the streets as Afghan special forces attempt to push back the
Taliban with the help of air support.
The Afghan Ministry of Defense says several Taliban commanders were killed.
The Prefecture of Police, still under siege, becomes the epicenter of the battle.
A car bomb was set off in the police compound, injuring 15 Afghan policemen. The buildings eventually fall into the hands of the Taliban.
The Office of the Governor of Helmand, seen below, is one of the last parts of town not under Taliban control.
The governor has reportedly negotiated a surrender and social media posts show the Taliban flag hoisted above the city.
The town and province that British troops spent nearly a decade protecting has fallen.
The Taliban captured Lashkar Gah in less than a fortnight after fighting reached the city’s perimeter.
This latest phase intensified on the outskirts of the Helmand capital almost immediately after the United States began withdrawing troops from the region in early May.
The city had become a place of refuge for people fleeing the recent fighting in the province.
By August 3, the conflict had grown so fierce in Lashkar Gah that Afghan forces asked all remaining civilians to leave.
Analysis by Alistair Bunkall, Middle East correspondent
Lashkar Gah has totemic value to the British Armed Forces as it was the location of their headquarters for operations in Helmand between 2006 and 2014.
A relatively small town of around 200,000 inhabitants, it is the capital of the province and sits strategically on the Helmand River and major trade routes across the country.
For soldiers deployed to Afghanistan, the time spent at Lashkar Gah was so much more comfortable than Camp Bastion or one of the forward operating bases that it became affectionately known to the troops as “Lash Vegas”.
While the fall of Lashkar Gah has enormous symbolic resonance for all who served in Afghanistan, it is not as significant a loss as the major cities of Herat or Kandahar.
Lashkar Gah is one of the three main provincial capitals that fell to the Taliban on the same day.
The insurgent group now controls half of Afghanistan’s 34 provincial capitals and two-thirds of the country.
As its advance accelerates, US intelligence officials have suggested that the Afghan capital Kabul could fall within 30 days.
Reporting: Kieran Devine, Jack Taylor, Victoria Elms
Reporting, maps and digital production: Carmen Aguilar GarcÃa, Ganesh Rao
Satellite imagery: Planet Labs Inc.
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