The Taliban took control of Zaranj, the capital of Nimruz province, without a fight. The western locale is the first provincial capital to fall under Taliban control since it launched its offensive across the country in May.
Jihadists and other independent sources on social media have posted videos of Taliban fighters patrolling Zaranj. The images also show them in control of the military base, as well as Zaranj Airport. Taliban fighters were photographed outside the governor’s compound and the headquarters of the National Directorate of Security, Afghanistan’s intelligence agency. Prisoners are streaming out of the local prison.
Some of these images were produced by Taliban spokesman Qari Yousaf Ahmadi, but additional sources confirm the fall of Zaranj.
Afghan journalist Bilal Sarwary confirmed that the Taliban now controls Zaranj.
“Zaranj city becomes the first provincial capital to fall to the Taliban without a single shot being fired,” Sarwary noted on Twitter.
The Taliban takeover of Zaranj is a major victory for the group, which is also battling for control of multiple other provincial capitals. Government forces are currently clinging to a cluster of buildings in the center of Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand, as the Taliban controls the rest of the city. The Taliban is in control of neighborhoods in Kandahar and Herat cities, and is launching frequent assaults in other capitals, such as Taluqan, Kunduz City, Ghazni City, Mitharlam, and Shiberghan.
Zaranj, which is on the border with Iran, is a major trade route and was a source of customs income for the Afghan government. The Taliban now operates four of the six major border crossings, and is collecting millions of dollars in revenue daily.
The Taliban’s objective is to restore its Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, either via force or by diplomacy. It is currently fighting to impose its repressive regime on the Afghan people.