Mazar-i-Sharif, the most important city in the north of Afghanistan, has fallen to the Taliban after government forces suddenly left the city and headed toward the Uzbekistan border, according to sources in the city.
In an audio message shared with members of the media on Saturday, Mohammad Anwar Mohammadi, deputy commander of the Mazar special operations unit, announced that the Taliban had taken control of the city, adding that military units are currently at the border with Uzbekistan waiting for permission to enter.
A pro-government militia source told CNN that there was no fighting inside the city and that chaos took over when government forces left.
The Taliban had earlier claimed to have "conquered" Mazar-i-Sharif, which President Ashraf Ghani had visited only last week when he called for popular uprising militia to join the army in defending Afghanistan's cities.
The fall of Mazar-i-Sharif, the capital of Balkh province, means that only two major cities — Kabul and Jalalabad — remain in the government's control.