Afghan media reports say the city of Herat in the west of Afghanistan, which is the third largest city in the country, fell to the Taliban on Friday after key government institutions were captured by the group.

Clashes on the outskirts of Herat city were underway for almost three weeks as the Taliban faced resistance by the security and defense forces who were accompanied by public uprising forces led by Mohammad Ismail Khan.

According to TOLONews, sources said that all government officials, including Herat governor, police chief, head of the NDS office in Herat, former mujahedeen leader Mohammad Ismail Khan, the deputy minister of interior for security, and the 207 Zafar Corps commander surrendered to the Taliban after the province fell to the group.

This comes as Nimroz, Farah, Ghor and Badghis provinces, all located in the west zone, have also fallen to the Taliban in the last one week.

The Taliban so far have captured at least 17 provincial capitals.

Meanwhile, the Head of High Council for National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah said that situation in Afghanistan is critical and asked for an urgent session of the UN Security Council to be held over Afghanistan.

According to Khaama Press, Abdullah said that the gains of the past twenty years are at risk which requires the ongoing atrocities to be stopped as soon as possible.

The HCNR Head was reportedly addressing representatives of the US, China, Pakistan, and Russia on the last day of international meetings on Afghanistan in the Qatari capital Doha on Thursday, August 12.

He also said that the Taliban with their recent series of attacks on major cities of Afghanistan left thousands dead and wounded and made hundreds of thousands of others leave their homes.

Abdullah said that the issue of Afghanistan is now threatening global peace and security, thus there is an urgent need for a session of the UN Security Council to address the misery.