© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Youths take footage subsequent to an Afghan flag on a hilltop overlooking Kabul, Afghanistan, April 15, 2021. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail/File Photograph


KABUL (Reuters) -Taliban insurgents captured an Afghan provincial capital and killed the federal government’s senior media officer in Kabul on Friday amid a deteriorating safety state of affairs as U.S. and different overseas troops withdraw.

A police spokesman in southern Nimroz province mentioned the capital Zaranj had fallen to the hardline Islamists due to a scarcity of reinforcements from the Western-backed authorities.

Preventing to reimpose a strict Islamic regime 20 years after they have been ousted from energy by U.S.-led forces, the Taliban have intensified their marketing campaign to defeat the federal government.

The insurgents have taken dozens of districts and border crossings in current months and put strain on a number of provincial capitals, together with Herat within the west and Kandahar within the south, as overseas forces pull out.

In New York, U.N. particular envoy for Afghanistan Deborah Lyons questioned the Taliban’s dedication to a political settlement, telling the U.N. Safety Council the conflict had entered a deadlier and extra damaging part “harking back to Syria, lately, or Sarajevo, within the not-so-distant previous”.

Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia mentioned the prospect of Afghanistan slipping into full-scale and protracted civil conflict “is a stark actuality”.

Senior U.S. diplomat Jeffrey DeLaurentis urged the Taliban to halt their offensive, pursue a political settlement and shield Afghanistan’s infrastructure and other people.

Zaranj was the primary provincial capital to fall to the Taliban since the US reached a take care of it in February 2020 for a U.S. troop pullout. An area supply mentioned the Taliban had seized the governor’s workplace, the police headquarters and an encampment close to the Iranian border.

Taliban sources mentioned the group was celebrating and Zaranj’s fall would raise the morale of their fighters. A Taliban commander, talking on situation of anonymity, mentioned Zaranj has strategic significance as it’s on the border with Iran.

In Kabul, Taliban attackers killed Dawa Khan Menapal, head of the Authorities Media and Info Centre, within the newest in a collection of killings geared toward weakening President Ashraf Ghani’s democratically elected authorities.


U.S. Cost d’Affaires Ross Wilson mentioned he was saddened and disgusted by the killing of Menapal, whom he mentioned offered truthful data to all Afghans.

“These murders are an affront to Afghans’ human rights & freedom of speech,” he mentioned on Twitter.

The White Home mentioned the Taliban’s actions wouldn’t win the group the worldwide legitimacy it seeks.

“They don’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 army marketing campaign,” White Home press secretary Jen Psaki instructed reporters in Washington.

Scores of social activists, journalists, bureaucrats, judges and public figures preventing to maintain a liberal Islamic administration have been killed by Taliban fighters in a bid to silence dissent.

An official within the federal inside ministry mentioned “savage terrorists” killed Menapal throughout Friday prayers.

“He (Menapal) was a younger man who stood like a mountain within the face of enemy propaganda, and who was at all times a significant supporter of the (Afghan) regime,” mentioned Mirwais Stanikzai, an Inside Ministry spokesperson.

Elsewhere Taliban fighters stepped up clashes with Afghan forces and attacked militias allied with the federal government, officers mentioned, stretching their dominance of border cities.

A minimum of 10 Afghan troopers and a commander of armed members belonging to the Abdul Rashid Dostum militia group within the northern province of Jowzjan have been killed.

The deputy governor of Jowzjan, Abdul Qader Malia, mentioned the Taliban attacked the outskirts of provincial capital Sheberghan this week.

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