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Taliban storm provincial capital of Nimroz

AT News

KABUL: Taliban fighters entered Zaranj city, the provincial capital of Nimroz in the southwest of country on Friday. Media reports and videos on social networks showed tens of fighters holding guns walking at the entrance of provincial governor’s office and the police department in Zaranj city.

Government officials in Kabul and Nirmoz did not answer requests to comment on the fall of Zaranj to Taliban. Zaranj is the first provincial capital to completely fall to the insurgents since they have accelerated assaults on government forces in early May.

Nothing about government troops’ resistance and casualties from the two warring sides has been reported.

Other reports said that hundreds of Zaranj residents rushed to Iranian border after the city fell to Taliban to save their lives, but Iranian border guards did not allow them enter Iran’s soil.

Nimroz borders with Iran’s province of Sistan and Baluchestan in the west and the state of Pakistan’s Balochistan in the south.

Separately, intensifying clashes were reported in the Lashkar Gah city, provincial capital of Helmand in the south and adjacent to Nimroz on Friday. Lashkar Gah has been the battlefield between government forces and Taliban assailants who try to capture the city for more than one week. Images showed flame rising from several marketplaces and other public and private buildings that caught fire in fire exchanges.

In Helmand, the US air force pounded Taliban’s targets many times to help Afghan government forces prevent the insurgents’ advance.

The situation in Herat another province in the west that also shares border with Iran, was not calm either. The city was reported empty with all business places closed and no traffic on the roads once the busiest city after Kabul. Herat was a major business hub in the country which has two major border points with Iran and Turkmenistan. Te two points fell to Taliban last month and seriously affected export and import.

Taliban have surrounded the provincial capital since last week, but government forces and local militias vow to drive the insurgents back and expand government control on many areas now held by the militants.

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