Taliban fighters in Afghanistan seized control of a major border crossing with Pakistan on Wednesday, one of the most important objectives they have achieved so far during a rapid advance across the country as U.S. forces pull out.
Video released by the militants showed their white flag with black Koranic verse flying in place of the Afghanistan flag above the Friendship Gate at the border crossing in the Afghan town of Wesh, opposite the Pakistani town of Chaman.
"After two decades of the brutality of Americans and their puppets, this gate and the Spin Boldak district were captured by the Taliban," a fighter said to camera.
"The strong resistance of the Mujahideen and its people forced the enemy to leave this area. As you can see, that's the Islamic Emirate flag, the flag that thousands of Mujahideen shed their blood to raise."
The crossing, in the Spin Boldak district south of Afghanistan's main southern city Kandahar, is the landlocked country's second busiest entry point and main commercial artery between its sprawling southwest region and Pakistani sea ports. Afghan government data indicate that the route is used by 900 trucks a day.
Afghan officials said government forces had pushed back the Taliban and were in control of the district. But civilians and Pakistani officials said the Taliban remained in control of the crossing.