by Zara Muradyan Germany has suspended deportations to Afghanistan amid the rapidly deteriorating security situation in the country, with Taliban* insurgents seizing big cities and key border crossings. Germany has pledged to cut financial assistance to Afghanistan if the Taliban comes to power and introduces Sharia law in the country. “We provide 430 million euros ($505 million) every year, we will not give another cent if the Taliban takes over the country and introduces Sharia law,” Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told broadcaster ZDF on Thursday. Back in April, the German foreign minister said any future financial aid for Afghanistan would be conditional on democratic standards being upheld there. “The Taliban know as well that this country, which has been suffering so much in the wars of the past decades, is massively dependent on international aid financially. This international aid certainly will not flow if the Taliban were to scrap all the rights and democratic standards that have been established in this country,” he added. Last year, top donor Germany pledged to send 430 million euros to Afghanistan in 2021 and signalled it would keep contributing through 2024, at the same time stressing that progress towards ending 20 years of war was needed. Maas made the Thursday statement as US intelligence assessed that the Afghan capital, Kabul, could fall to the Taliban within 30 to 90 days. The Taliban said they’ve just captured Ghazni city, located 150 kilometres southwest of Kabul. The insurgents have intensified their offensive across the country following US President Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw all American forces from the war-torn nation by the end of August. The Taliban claims to have captured eight provincial capitals in less than a week and is threatening to seize at least three more. The group, which controls about two-thirds of the country, says it has captured airports outside the cities of Kunduz and Sheberghan in the north and Farah in the west, as well as provincial headquarters in Lashkargah, the besieged capital of the southern province of Helmand. Fighting between Afghan government forces and Taliban militants has been extremely intense in Kandahar city, which the insurgents are desperate to seize. Aside from taking control of major cities, the Taliban has raised its flag over key border crossings with Tajikistan, Iran, and Pakistan. In a bid to curb the Taliban’s advance, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani flew to Mazar-i-Sharif, the capital of the northern Balkh province, to discuss steps to beef up the country’s security. The trip comes a day after the Taliban claimed control over Pol-e-Khomri, the capital of Baghlan province, which is located on the strategic road Kabul-Mazar-i-Sharif. The United Nations said over 1,000 civilians had been killed in the past month, while the International Committee of the Red Cross stated that since 1 August some 4,042 wounded people had been treated at 15 health facilities. The Taliban has denied deliberately targeting or killing civilians, and urged for a probe. The Afghan conflict has escalated dramatically since May, when US-led forces began the final stage of a troop pullout due to end later this month following a 20-year ‘War on Terror’. Despite the fact that the Taliban has made significant advances against Afghan government forces in the past few months, Biden told reporters this week that he “does not regret” the decision to pull US forces out of the country after 20 years of war. “We spent over a trillion dollars over 20 years, we trained and equipped with modern equipment over 300,000 Afghan forces and Afghan leaders have to come together. We lost thousands … of American personnel. They’ve got to fight for themselves, fight for their nation.” ________________________________________ *The Taliban is a terrorist group banned in Russia and many other countries.