The Afghanistan Ministry of Interior Affairs instituted a nightly curfew that starts at 10 p.m. and lasts until 4 a.m.
The curfew will be in effect for 31 provinces, with Kabul, Nangharhar and Panjshir exempt. The government claims that the curfew will enable it to better defend against Taliban attacks.
The move is the latest sign of desperation from the Afghan government.
The Taliban has seized “momentum” with its attacks as the U.S. military continues to withdraw troops from the country – a move that several military leaders and politicians on both sides have criticized.
Former President Donald Trump set out a plan to withdraw troops by May, but President Biden delayed that timeline to Sept. 11 after he assumed office in 2021. The Pentagon said Thursday that the withdrawal is 95% finished and will be completed by Aug. 31.
However, Afghanistan has struggled in the absence of support from the U.S. military. The Defense Ministry withdrew forces from seven districts as of July 5 to focus defensive efforts around some of the more critical capital provinces.
Those efforts appear to have failed, with Taliban forces reportedly taking 19 districts “without a fight,” according to Ata Mohammad Noor, an Afghan warlord and key U.S. ally.
Noor blamed a fractious government that is unable to organize itself, and he labeled the U.S. as “irresponsible” for its departure.
The Taliban claimed as of July 9 that it controls at least 85% of the country’s territory. They have also captured several border crossings with Iran, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, opening up potential revenues for the terrorist group and cutting key transportation routes.
Former President George W. Bush called the U.S. withdrawal a “mistake” that will have “unbelievably bad” consequences.
“This is a mistake,” Bush told German broadcaster Deutsche Welle. “They’re just going to be left behind to be slaughtered by these very brutal people, and it breaks my heart.”
Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.