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.
Eleven Taliban leaders have been reportedly exchanged for three kidnapped Indian engineers. One of the newly-freed Taliban commanders is Abdul Rashid Baluch. The US designated Baluch as a terrorist in 2015, reporting that he “served as a Taliban liaison officer to al Qaeda (AQ) and was responsible for planning meetings between Taliban senior leadership” and al Qaeda “members in Karachi, Pakistan.”
The US says that Sgt. Jasso was “was likely accidentally shot” by partner Afghan forces during a “close-quarter battle” with “multiple barricaded al Qaeda shooters” in Nimroz province on Nov. 24. Nimroz is a remote area of Afghanistan and al Qaeda’s presence there confirms, once again, that the group is operating throughout the country.