The Taliban conquered a provincial capital in southern Afghanistan, and assassinated a government official who ran Afghanistan’s state media apparatus Friday.
The terrorist organization took the capitol of Nimroz province, Zaranj, seizing the governor’s office, police headquarters and a border encampment, CNN reported. Nimroz borders both Iran and Pakistan, making it of strategic importance to both the Taliban and the internationally-recognized Afghan government led by Ashraf Ghani. (RELATED: Taliban Claims Insurgents Have Captured Another Border Crossing: REPORT)
“This is the beginning and see how other provinces fall in our hands very soon,” an anonymous Taliban commander reportedly told CNN.
Taliban have entered Zaranj, provincial capital of Nimroz province and Shabarghan, the provincial capital of Jowzjan. pic.twitter.com/bxP6kCf0xz
— Ahmad Yar (@Ahmdyarr) August 6, 2021
Taliban gunmen killed Dawa Khan Menapal, the director of the Government Media and Information Center (GMIC), later Friday while he rode in a car in Kabul, according to The Associated Press. Menapal had also served as a spokesman for Ghani.
The Taliban also attempted an assassination Tuesday against Afghanistan’s acting defense minister, detonating a car bomb in a crowded neighborhood. The bombing killed eight and wounded 20, according to The Washington Post, although the minister, Bismillah Khan Mohammadi, was unharmed.
Since President Joe Biden announced that the U.S. would withdraw all troops by Sept. 11, the Taliban has steadily gained ground. Ghani blamed the withdrawal for Taliban advances Monday in an address to the National Assembly, claiming that the “the decision was taken abruptly.”
The Department of Defense (DOD) has stated that senior government officials find the Taliban advance “concerning.”
“What we have seen is a deteriorating security situation on the ground, no questions about that, that the Taliban continues to take district centers,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said in July. “It is concerning and it is all the more reason, as the President said yesterday, for us to want to see a political solution and an end to this fighting.”
The DOD announced July 27 that it had resumed launching airstrikes against Taliban troops and military caches.
The Taliban claims to control 85% of Afghanistan’s territory, although the Ghani government disputes that number.