This is the first provincial capital in Afghanistan captured by the Taliban in recent years. The rebels seized Zaranj, the capital of the southwestern Nimroz province, on Friday afternoon. Now they are targeting big cities.
In addition, another city is reported to have been captured by the Taliban. Qatar-based Al Jazeera reported that it had reports that Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital, had fallen to Afghan control. However, the news could not be fully confirmed.
For the past few days, there has been intense fighting between government forces and the Taliban over the capture of Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province. Many civilians have been killed. The United Nations has expressed concern about this.
The United States will withdraw all US troops from Afghanistan this month after 20 years of war. In this context, the Taliban became more active in Afghanistan. They have already taken over many district towns of the country. The struggle to capture the provincial capitals continues.
The Taliban have already seized several border land-ports in Afghanistan with Iran and Pakistan. Earlier in 2016, the Taliban captured the provincial capital Kunduz. Shortly afterwards, it fell into the hands of Afghan government forces.
Taliban sources said, Taliban were seen celebrating after the capture of Zaranj. A Taliban leader told Reuters on condition of anonymity that the city shares a border with Iran. So, there is a strategic importance of victory in this provincial city.