The Taliban have captured Herat – Afghanistan’s third-largest city and a strategic provincial capital near Kabul.
The seizure marks the biggest prize yet for the Taliban. The group now has taken 11 of Afghanistan’s 34 provincial capitals.
Earlier, the insurgents had taken another provincial capital, Ghazni, just 80 miles from Kabul, posting videos of themselves on the city’s streets unopposed.
US intelligence has warned that Kabul could fall within the next 90 days, and the US Embassy there is urging American citizens to leave the country immediately.
The latest advances come as intense fighting has broken out on the streets of Kandahar, Afghanistan’s second largest city, which is situated 480km (300 miles) south-west of the capital.
Civilians are fleeing violence there as the Taliban threatens to take control of the region.