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Taliban capture three more provincial capitals in Afghanistan

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The Taliban on Friday captured three more provincial capitals in Afghanistan, including Lashkar Gah in Helmand, as the insurgents continue their lightning offensive to take control of the country — and the US plans to send in troops to help evacuate embassy staff in the capital of Kabul.

Attaullah Afghan, head of the provincial council in Helmand, said the Taliban captured Lashkar Gah after heavy fighting, while three national army bases outside of Helmand Province’s capital remain under government control.

Atta Jan Haqbayan, the provincial council chief in Zabul province, said the local capital of Qalat fell to the Taliban and that officials are in a nearby army camp preparing to evacuate.

Two lawmakers in southern Uruzgan province, Bismillah Jan Mohammad and Qudratullah Rahimi, said local officials have surrendered the provincial capital, Tirin Kot, to the rapidly advancing Taliban. Mohammad said the governor was en route to the airport to depart for Kabul.

The latest advances came hours after the insurgents captured the country’s second and third largest cities, Kandahar – birthplace of the Taliban — and Herat, in their relentless advance.  

Map shows districts where the Taliban are predominantly in control of security and public services.
Map shows districts where the Taliban are predominantly in control of security and public services.
FDD

Kabul isn’t directly under threat yet, but the losses and battles in other parts of the country further tighten the grip of a resurgent Taliban, who are estimated to now hold over two-thirds of the country.

The US planned to send in 3,000 troops to help evacuate some personnel from the US Embassy in Kabul.

Meanwhile, Britain said about 600 troops would be deployed on a short-term basis to support UK nationals leaving the country, and Canada is sending special forces to help evacuate its diplomatic office.

Thousands of Afghans have fled their homes amid fears the insurgents will once again impose a brutal, repressive government, all but eradicating women’s rights and conducting public executions.

“We demand an immediate end to attacks against cities, urge a political settlement, and warn that a government imposed by force will be a pariah state,” said Zalmay Khalilzad, the US envoy to stalled peace talks in Qatar.

On Friday, Fazel Haq Ehsan, head of the provincial council in the western Ghor province, said the Taliban had entered the capital of Feroz Koh and that there was fighting inside the city.

The Taliban also claimed to have captured Qala-e Naw, capital of the western Badghis province, though there was no official confirmation.

The insurgents also are on the move in Logar province, just south of Kabul, where they claim to have seized the police headquarters in the provincial capital of Puli-e Alim as well as a nearby prison.  

Taliban fighters stand on a vehicle along the roadside in Herat, Afghanistan's third-largest city, after government forces pulled out the day before following weeks of being under siege.
Taliban fighters stand on a vehicle along the roadside in Herat, Afghanistan’s third-largest city, after government forces pulled out the day before following weeks of being under siege.
AFP via Getty Images
Taliban fighters patrol inside the city of Farah, which was captured on August 11.
Taliban fighters patrol inside the city of Farah, which was captured on August 11.
AP

According to the latest US military intelligence assessment, Kabul could come under insurgent pressure within 30 days — and the Taliban could gain full control of the war-torn country within a few months.

The government may be forced to pull back to defend the imperiled capital and just a few other cities in the coming days if the Taliban maintain their momentum.

Government officials and Afghan security forces have not responded to questions from journalists, instead issuing video messages that have downplayed the Taliban offensive.

Bill Roggio, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said the Afghan army has been rife with corruption and mismanagement, leaving poorly equipped troops with little motivation to fight.

Refugees from northern Afghanistan take shelter in a public park in Kabul.
Refugees from northern Afghanistan take shelter in a public park in Kabul.
AP

The Taliban, meanwhile, have spent a decade seizing large swaths of the country, positioning themselves to rapidly take over vital infrastructure and urban areas once President Joe Biden announced the withdrawal of US troops.

The difficulty of moving forces out to the provinces means the government is likely to focus all its efforts on defending Kabul.

“Whatever forces are left or remaining that are in the Kabul area and the provinces around them, they’re going to be used for the defense of Kabul,” Roggio said. “Unless something dramatically changes, and I don’t see how that’s possible, these provinces will remain under Taliban control.”

The Taliban delegation arrives for Afghan peace talks in Doha, Qatar, Thursday, August 12, 2021.
The Taliban delegation arrives for Afghan peace talks in Doha, Qatar, Thursday, August 12, 2021.
AP

In Herat, the insurgents rushed past the Great Mosque, a structure that dates to 500 BC and was once a spoil of Alexander the Great. Witnesses described hearing sporadic gunfire at one government building.

The historic city had been under militant attack for two weeks, with one wave blunted by the arrival of warlord Ismail Khan and his forces. But on Thursday afternoon, the Taliban broke through the city’s defenses and later claimed they were in control.

In Kandahar, the Taliban seized the governor’s office and other buildings, according to witnesses, who said the governor and other officials caught a flight to Kabul. They declined to be named publicly as the defeat has yet to be acknowledged by the government.

The Taliban had earlier attacked a prison in Kandahar and freed inmates inside, officials said.

Helmand Province lawmaker Nasima Niazi criticized ongoing airstrikes targeting the area, saying civilians likely had been wounded and killed.

“The Taliban used civilian houses to protect themselves, and the government, without paying any attention to civilians, carried out airstrikes,” she said.

Aviation-tracking data suggested that US Air Force B-52 bombers, F-15 fighter jets, drones and other aircraft were involved in the fighting across the country, according to Australia-based security firm The Cavell Group.

US Central Command has acknowledged carrying out several airstrikes, without providing details or commenting on the concerns over civilian casualties, while the UN refugee agency warned that civilians in southern Afghanistan faced cut-off highways and mobile phone outages.

It described aid groups as being unable to determine how many people had fled as intense fighting and airstrikes continued there.

The agency called on Afghanistan’s neighbors to keep borders open as Taliban advances heightened the country’s crisis.

“An inability to seek safety may risk innumerable civilian lives. UNHCR stands ready to help national authorities scale up humanitarian responses as needed,” a spokesperson for the agency told a briefing in Geneva, according to Reuters.

The World Food Programme sees food shortages in Afghanistan as “quite dire” and worsening, a spokesperson said, adding that the situation had all the hallmarks of a humanitarian catastrophe.

With Post wires

Locals inspect the damage to a building caused by American and Afghan airstrikes in Lashkar Gah on August 4, 2021.
Locals inspect the damage to a building caused by American and Afghan airstrikes in Lashkar Gah on August 4, 2021.
AP

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What Time Will ‘Riverdale’ Season 6 Be on Netflix?

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The season finale of Riverdale aired in late July on The CW. Notice we said season finale? Thankfully, the beloved series will return for a seventh season, but, unfortunately, Season 7 will be the final installment of Riverdale.

If you already streamed the current season, make sure to read Alex Zalben’s interview with Riverdale showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa on Decider. If you’re waiting to binge Season 6 on Netflix, well, you better clear your calendar because all 22 episodes are about to drop on the streamer. What time will the sixth season of Riverdale debut on Netflix? What time does Netflix release shows? Here’s everything you need to know.

WHEN IS THE RIVERDALE SEASON 6 NETFLIX RELEASE DATE?

Riverdale Season 6 premieres Sunday, August 7 on Netflix.

HOW MANY EPISODES ARE IN RIVERDALE SEASON 6?

The sixth season of Riverdale consists of 22 episodes.

WHAT TIME DOES NETFLIX RELEASE NEW SHOWS?

Netflix releases new episodes at 3:00 a.m. ET/12:00 a.m. PT.

WHAT TIME WILL RIVERDALE SEASON 6 BE ON NETFLIX?

Netflix is based out of California, so Riverdale Season 6 will be available to stream at 12:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time (3:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time) beginning Sunday, August 7. If the clock strikes 12:00 (or 3:00 a.m. for folks on the East Coast) and you don’t see the new episodes, give it a moment, hit refresh, and then enjoy the show!

WILL THERE BE A SEASON 7 OF RIVERDALE?

Yes! Decider recently covered that very topic.

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Actress Anne Heche Suffers Severe Burns After Crashing Car Into Los Angeles Home

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Actress Anne Heche, known for her roles in such films as Donnie Brasco, Volcano and I Know What You Did Last Summer, was involved in a fiery car crash in the Mar Vista area of Los Angeles on Friday.

According to TMZ, Heche was driving a blue Mini Cooper and had first crashed into the garage of an apartment complex. Residents of the apartment complex tried to get her out of the vehicle but she backed up and sped off.

Footage of Heche speeding down the streets of her neighborhood had been obtained by TMZ as well as her initial encounter at the apartment complex.

In the first clip, you can hear her car crash towards the end. It has been reported that the actress crashed into someone’s home, causing her vehicle and the house to erupt into flames. Heche suffered severe burns and was resisting being taken away in a stretcher. You can also view footage of this via the TMZ article.

It has not been confirmed whether alcohol has been involved in the incident since her condition prevents doctors from performing any tests to determine if she was driving under the influence. She is currently intubated in the hospital but expected to live.

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These are the vulgar license-plate requests the DMV has rejected

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Stay CL4SSY, New York!

The state Department of Motor Vehicles nixed 3,752 requests for vanity license plates in the last three years because it deemed them too raunchy, radical or simply ridiculous.

New York’s personalized plates go for $60 initially, and then $31.25 annually for renewal. You can get any plate as long as no one else has it and it’s not offensive.

Odds are a request for a plate that marks a wedding anniversary or shows your allegiance to a team — like METS86 — will pass muster with the DMV gatekeepers.

Vulgarity won’t get you to first base.

So plates with the phrase LFGM — the acronym for Pete Alonso’s “Let’s F–king Go Mets” rallying cry — did not make the cut.

And you won’t see anyone driving around with the custom plates MILFDAD, AS5M4N and WLHUNG.

Crude meanings such as “MILFDAD” are unacceptable by the DMV.
Crude meanings such as “MILFDAD” are unacceptable by the DMV.
New York DMV
NYC123
New York state Department of Motor Vehicles denied more than 3.5 thousand requests for license plates deemed inappropriate.
New York DMV
“AS5M4N” was rejected for referring to “Ass man.”
“AS5M4N” was rejected for referring to “Ass man.”
New York DMV

The DMV also put NICEBUNS, FATFANNY, GOTAPOOP and BENDOVER in the rear-view mirror.

One player unsuccessfully tried to score the plate YESDADDY, to no avail.

The DMV also shot down such dark requests as DEADGIRL, GENOC1DE, S8TAN, DETONATE and MURDERM3.

“SUM8ITCH” is not allowed.
“SUM8ITCH” is not allowed.
New York DMV
The DMV thoroughly nixed a request for “CNNLIES.”
The DMV thoroughly nixed a request for “CNNLIES.”
New York DMV
BOOBIE is prohibited.
BOOBIE is prohibited.
New York DMV

Getting political is a dead end too — FJOEBIDN, FDTRUMP and CNNLIES were nixed.

LUDEDUDE, NARCO, GOT METH and BLUNT also went up in smoke.

Staten Island attorney Bill Dertinger said his blue 1995 Jaguar SJS was tagged with ESQLTD after his company and his 2014 Porsche had the plate GHOSTGTS because the sleek sportscar was white.

“The plates can make you stand out — which can be a curse or a blessing,” the 54-year-old Dertinger said. “Make sure you don’t cut anybody off.”

A man attempted to sneak in “YESDADDY” onto his license plate.
A man attempted to sneak in “YESDADDY” onto his license plate.
New York DMV
The DMV stopped a request for “FJOEBIDEN.”
The DMV stopped a request for “FJOEBIDEN.”
New York DMV
The DMV also rejects any license plates referring to politics.
The DMV also rejects any license plates referring to politics.
New York DMV

There must be a New York Jets fan playing referee at the DMV because a request for the seemingly innocent plate GASE was sidelined. Ex-Jets head coach Adam Gase had an offensive 9-23 win-loss record during his forgettable two-year tenure.

The DMV would not reveal who gives the final yea or nay.

“The DMV reviews all custom license plate requests and works hard to ensure that any combinations that may be considered objectionable are rejected,” said agency spokesman Tim O’Brien.

“GLOCKS” referring to guns is not accepted by the DMV.
“GLOCKS” referring to guns is not accepted by the DMV.
New York DMV
“FLYMOFO” is not approved by the DMV.
“FLYMOFO” is not approved by the DMV.
New York DMV

He said guidelines on what plate combinations are restricted can be found on the DMV website: https://dmv.ny.gov/learn-about-personalized-plates. Approximately 50,000 personalized and custom plates are sold per year, O’Brien said.

Bagged Tags

The state DMV has rejected 3,752 requests for custom license plates in the last three years because it deemed them potentially offensive. Here are some:

YESDADDY

FJOEBIDN

FDTRUMP

GLOCKS

FLYMOFO

BOOBIE

AS5M4N

BUDLIGHT

DEADGIRL

SUM8ITCH

GENOC1DE

S8TAN

CNNLIES

DETONATE

MURDERM3

MILFDAD

WLHUNG

Source: NYS DMV

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