(Vox) Some terrible news broke in Afghanistan on Monday news: The Taliban had captured the city of Kunduz, Afghanistan's fifth-largest city and home to about 300,000 people. Kunduz is the provincial capital of Kunduz province in northern Afghanistan; the city is the first provincial capital the Taliban has managed to take in 14 years.
It's not clear how long the Taliban can hold on to the city, but this is a bad sign. The city's fall is a testament to some fundamental weaknesses in the Afghan military and government — problems that will bedevil the country as it tries to remain stable in the wake of NATO's withdrawal. […]
According to Jason Lyall, a Yale University expert on Afghanistan and insurgency, there are three big reasons the Taliban grew strong enough to make such major gains in Kunduz: the "corrupt and violent militia" defending the city, the "weak central state," and "ethnic rivalries" between local groups.
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