Afghan conflict: Taliban take Mazar-i-Sharif, government’s last northern strongholdThe fall of the traditional anti-Taliban bastion marked a major gain for the militants, who have been advancing at speed as US-led forces withdraw.
President Ashraf Ghani travelled to the city just days ago to rally troops.
The Taliban are now in control of much of the country and are edging closer to the capital Kabul.
More than a quarter of a million people have been displaced by the violence, and many have fled to Kabul in the hope of finding safety.
Women in areas captured by the Taliban have described being forced to wear burkas and the militants are also reported to have beaten and lashed people for breaking social rules.
Western countries are scrambling to evacuate their citizens.
How did Mazar-i-Sharif fall?
Local officials said Mazar-i-Sharif – the capital of Balkh province and fourth largest city in Afghanistan – fell largely without a fight.
Abas Ebrahimzada, a lawmaker from Balkh, told the Associated Press news agency that the national army were the first to surrender, which then prompted pro-government forces and other militia to give up.
Mazar-i-Sharif is a major economic centre that lies close to the borders with Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. The last time the Taliban took the city was in the