Kabul: An Afghan provincial capital, Zaranj in the south-western province of Nimroz, was captured by The Taliban on Friday. It is the first provincial capital to be captured by the insurgents. Nimroz is one of the major financial hubs of the country. The commanders have declared an overnight curfew in the city.
Local security forces fought for three hours and their requests for reinforcements were not answered. The forces have been asking for reinforcements for 10 days. Friday's attack was focused around the governor's office, local police, and intelligence headquarters. The attack ended when government forces retreated, reported The Guardian.
A Taliban commander told Reuters that taking over Zaranj has marked a major strategic victory because the provincial capital is close to the Iranian border. He added that this is only the beginning and other provinces will also fall into the hands of the Taliban very soon.
One local official said that nowhere in the entire Nimroz province is under the control of the Afghan government and the Taliban has captured it all. He added that the security forces have either fled or surrendered to the Taliban. The Taliban has freed the inmates of the city's prison.
Locals with any connection with the Afghan government have gone into hiding fearing the revenge of the Taliban. About 300 people have already fled to Iran anticipating that the neighbouring country may shut its border. A local told The Guardian that Taliban fighters are freely walking on the streets and his family could not arrive at the Iran border before they closed the border.
Sheberghan, the provincial capital of Jawzjan and Harat have also been seeing an intense street fight. In Kabul, the head of the government's media and information centre, Dawa Khan Menapal was killed by the Taliban.
The Taliban has intensified its efforts to take control of Afghanistan since the US president announced that American military troops will be withdrawn from Afghan soil. The terror organisation has been capturing rural territories since May. Bigger cities like Herat came into their threat in recent weeks.