Taliban capture Mazar-e-Sharif, 4th largest Afghan city

NOW: Taliban capture Mazar-e-Sharif, 4th largest Afghan city

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By TAMEEM AKHGAR, RAHIM FAIEZ and JOSEPH KRAUSS Associated Press

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A lawmaker says the city of Mazar-e-Sharif, the fourth-largest city in Afghanistan, has fallen to the Taliban after the insurgents launched a major assault there earlier in the day.

The Taliban have captured much of northern, western and southern Afghanistan in a breakneck offensive less than three weeks before the United States is set to withdraw its last troops.

That has raised fears of a full militant takeover of the country. Afghan officials say the Taliban have captured several more provinces and are battling government forces some 11 kilometers, or about 7 miles, south of Kabul.

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