Taliban seizes provincial capital Zaranj, mounts onslaughts in Afghanistan

Pic Credit – Hamed Sarfarazi/AP

The Taliban has seized Zaranj, in the Nimroz province of Afghanistan, in a major offensive. Zaranj, a city in southwestern Afghanistan, has become the first provincial capital to fall to the Taliban, giving the Islamists a significant psychological victory against the government forces.

Zaranj, located near the Iranian border is a major trading hub, was taken over by the Taliban without any resistance. The reinforcement, as reported, was not made available by the Afghan government.

Taliban offensives have surged since the US-led coalition forces hastily exited from the war-ravaged country following a peace deal with the fundamentalist group.

It was way back in 2016 when a provincial capital was besieged by the Taliban, the time, for a short span. The Taliban at that time captured Kunduz, the northern city.

Islamist militant organization, the Taliban has claimed thousands of civilian lives in the recent month. Its military conflicts with the Afghan Forces have escalated since April 2021, and it is posing an immense challenge to the Afghan Forces in cities of Afghanistan.

Large swaths of countrysides in Afghanistan are said to be under the control of the Taliban. The Taliban is also making a constant bid to seize strategic locations across the county to establish its influence, and it has so far taken control of dozen of districts and border crossings.

The situation in the country has only been exacerbated after the withdrawal of foreign troops while civilian casualties have risen by 50%, according to US special envoy for Afghanistan, Lyons. Peace talks with the Islamist group have also not fructified so far.

The government of the UK issued an advisory asking its citizen to leave Afghanistan in light of the deteriorating security environment.

Over two decades of military operations in Afghanistan by the US and NATO forces against the dreaded militant group, the Taliban, had accomplished a little.

Dawa Khan Menapal, the director of Afghanistan’s government media centre, was assassinated when he left at a mosque in the country’s capital, Kabul. Militants belonging to the Taliban shot him dead.

Afghan Defence Minister, Bismillah Khan Mohammadi, fortunately, failed to become the victim of the Taliban’s onslaught just days earlier. The attack on his house in his absence had left eight people dead.

These actions are meant to undermine the democratically elected Ashraf Ghani’s government in Afghanistan.

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