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Taliban seize first Afghan provincial capital in blow to authorities

KABUL: The Taliban on Friday (Aug 6) captured their first provincial capital since launching an offensive to coincide with the departure of international troops, a significant blow to an Afghan authorities desperately making an attempt to push again the insurgents.

“Zaranj, provincial capital of Nimroz, has fallen to the Taliban,” Roh Gul Khairzad, the deputy governor of Nimroz, instructed AFP.

She mentioned the town – in southwest Afghanistan close to the Iranian border – had been taken “and not using a struggle”, and social media confirmed clips of insurgents roaming the streets, being cheered by residents.

The veracity of the movies couldn’t instantly be confirmed.

The autumn of Zaranj got here the identical day as the pinnacle of the Afghan authorities’s media data division was shot useless in Kabul in an assault claimed by the Taliban.

The insurgents warned this week they might goal senior administration figures in retaliation for elevated air strikes.

Because the UN Safety Council met in New York to debate the battle, Deborah Lyons, head of the world physique’s Afghan support operation, painted a grim image of the nation’s deteriorating scenario.

“The Safety Council should difficulty an unambiguous assertion that assaults in opposition to cities should cease now,” Lyons mentioned through video-link from Kabul.


Within the Afghan capital, officers expressed shock on the assassination of Dawa Khan Menapal, one of many authorities’s main voices.

“Sadly, the savage terrorists have dedicated a cowardly act as soon as once more and martyred a patriotic Afghan,” mentioned inside ministry spokesman Mirwais Stanikzai.

Menapal was fashionable in Kabul’s tight-knit media neighborhood, and identified for pillorying the Taliban on social media – even jokingly at instances.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid mentioned Menapal “was killed in a particular assault carried out by mujahideen”.

The US condemned the killing, with White Home spokeswoman Jen Psaki saying the insurgents “wouldn’t have to remain on this trajectory”.

“They’ll select to commit the identical power to the peace course of as they’re to their navy marketing campaign. We strongly urge them to take action.”

Psaki added that President Joe Biden continued to imagine it was proper to drag US troops out after 20 years of battle.

The militants had warned Wednesday of extra assaults concentrating on Afghan authorities leaders.

The day earlier than, defence minister Bismillah Mohammadi escaped an assassination try in a bomb-and-gun assault.

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