The Taliban offensive in Afghanistan is "gradually running out of steam" as the group lacks resources to take over major cities, Izvestiya quoted Alexander Bikantov, the Deputy Director of the Information and Press Department of the Russian MFA, as saying on August 5.

"The Taliban lack the resources to take over and hold major cities including the capital, Kabul. Their offensive is gradually running out of steam," Bikantov said at a briefing yesterday.

He also noted that the Afghan government forces had managed to take back control over the lost territories in a number of provinces.

Russia would continue to press for peace talks, Bikantov added. 

Reuters notes that the Taliban's rapid territorial gains in Afghanistan's rural areas over the last few months caught many off guard, particularly the Afghan government.

While the pace of that blitz has slowed, insurgent fighters have reportedly turned their attention to urban centers, penetrating deep into three key provincial capitals, which many fear could fall into Taliban control.

Fighting has been particularly heavy inside the city of Herat, near the western border with Iran, Lashkargah, capital of Helmand province in the southwest, and Kandahar in the south.

Three Taliban commanders told Reuters they had switched strategy from targeting rural areas to attacking provincial cities, in response to increased U.S. air strikes after the United States said it was ending its longest war.