January 29, 2023

The Taliban have seized control of the Afghan provincial capital, Jharkhand

KABUL, Afghanistan – Afghan officials said on Friday that the Taliban had captured the capital of one of Afghanistan’s western provinces, marking a rebel milestone. A relentless march to regain power in the country.

Nimroz’s provincial capital, Jarang, on the Afghanistan – Iran border, has collapsed and is now in rebel hands, according to Nimroz’s deputy governor Rokul Khairzad and provincial council chairman Haji Boss Mohammad Nasser.

It was the first provincial capital to be captured by the first rebel group The Biden administration has said it will withdraw US troops from Afghanistan In the coming weeks. The Taliban have been besieging several such cities for weeks, and the fall of the 160,000-strong city of Jarang is the Taliban’s first major advance.

The city collapsed in the capital, Kabul, on the same day that a senior government official was assassinated. On the day of dark news for the government, it came as insurgents put intense pressure on other provincial cities.

“All the people are hiding in their homes for fear of the Taliban,” said Khair-ul-Nisa Kami, a member of the provincial council. “The situation is very worrying. People are scared,” he said: “The Taliban captured the city without any fighting.”

Mr Nasser, chairman of the provincial council, said the government had failed to send reinforcements to Jharkhand and that the authorities had decided to abandon the city to avoid casualties. He denied that he had made a deal with the Taliban.

Located in the far southwest corner of the country, Jarang is Afghanistan’s main center for illegal immigration. For decades, the steady flow of Afghans displaced by the conflict and poverty led to the city’s smuggler-owned hotels and brokerage deals to travel through the mountains to Iran.

Since the Taliban began its military campaign in May, the city has been buzzing with people wanting to leave the city. In early July, about 450 pickup trucks flew from Sarange to crossings on the Iranian border each day – more than double the number of cars traveling in March, says David Mansfield, a British foreign development expatriate researcher. Company.

The German seizure is a significant development in the Taliban’s campaign because they focus on targeting rural districts and provincial capitals.

The 215th Regiment of the Afghan National Army is in charge of security in the besieged neighboring provinces of Helmand, the capital of the province of Jharkhand, and Lashkar-e-Kahn. The commander of the 215th Regiment focused on defending Lashkar-e-Taiba, and Jaranj was likely to be captured.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the killing of a senior government official in Kabul. Dawa Khan Meenapal, head of the government’s media and information center, was shot dead in a targeted attack.

The massacre came a day later Coordinated attack by insurgent group on the residence of the acting defense minister It killed eight people. The attack highlighted the Taliban’s ability to continue its extensive military campaign in the center of the Afghan capital.

In northern Afghanistan on Friday, the Taliban attacked another provincial capital, Shebarganj, from five directions, burning homes and wedding halls and attacking police headquarters and prisons. Halimah Sadaf Karimi, a member of parliament from Josefan province, the capital of Shepard, said many civilians had been killed.

Fighting continued in the main western city of Herat, the southern city of Kandahar and other provincial capitals.

The government’s response to the insurgents’ recent victories has been fragmented. Afghan forces have recaptured some districts, but the Afghan Air Force and its commandos – regular military and police units – have been used to retain territory such as retreat, surrender or refusal to fight.

Instead of security forces, the government saw local militants again to fill the gaps, reminiscent of the chaotic and ethnically divided civil war of the 1990s, and many now fear that Afghans will return.

In recent weeks, the U.S. military has stepped up airstrikes on Taliban positions around major cities, giving Afghanistan time to re-deploy. The strikes have not only done little to change the condition of the land, but have slowed the progress of the Taliban.

The United States has said it will complete its withdrawal by August 31, when the Biden administration will end its military operations. The Afghan government will only give weeks to reorganize its security forces to protect cities and territories under its control.

Christina Goldbaum and Thomas Gibbons-Nef contributed to the report.