On August 12, a video was shared by Journalist Bilal Sarwary in which Talibani terrorists were seen enjoying food inside the Governor’s Palace of the Nimraoz province. The location is strategic in terms of connectivity with Chabahar. It is a crucial point of connectivity for India as well, as India handles the Chabahar port of Iran since 2017.
Taliban fighters enjoying fruits, biscuits and comfort of sofas in Nimroz province shortly after taking over the city of Zaranj. pic.twitter.com/mqtOgagY2t— BILAL SARWARY (@bsarwary) August 11, 2021
The video shared by Sarwary showed Taliban terrorists sprawled on lavish sofas and chairs, enjoying food and chatting among themselves at the Governor’s palace.
Notably, Taliban terrorists captured Zaranj, an Afghan provincial capital, on August 6. They also killed the government’s senior media officer in Kabul. Videos have emerged on social media platforms in which Talibani terrorists could be seen in all key locations.
According to a report published in Reuters, a Police Spokesperson in southern Nimroz province blamed the fall of Zaranj in the hands of the Taliban on the lack of reinforcements from the Afghan government. In a statement on Twitter, a Taliban spokesperson claimed that they had “completely liberated” the province and taken control of the governor’s house, official buildings and police headquarters.
Visuals show the presence of the Taliban in critical locations
Since the news broke that the Taliban took control of Zaranj, several visuals have appeared in which they were seen at critical locations. Pedro 47, a war correspondent with Radia Free Asia had shared visuals of Taliban presence at the airport and the major currency exchange market.
Taliban claim they have taken control of Zaranj’s airport. This video is purportedly showing the airport security battalion’s headquarters. pic.twitter.com/XXQn1M0BJc— Pedro 47 (@CombatJourno) August 6, 2021
Zaranj’s main currency exchange market is now in control of Taliban insurgents. pic.twitter.com/bxhHhbj5c4— Pedro 47 (@CombatJourno) August 6, 2021
In a video shared by Tolo News, Afghani citizens were seen fleeing Nimroz to the border of Iran out of fear of the Taliban’s attack on the city. Still, the Iranian border guards reportedly mistreated them and sent them back to the war zone.
Video – A large number of Nimroz residents flocked to the border with Iran on Thursday night over fears of Taliban attack on Zaranj city, but according to the residents, they faced “mistreatment” by Iranian border guards and were sent back to their homes. pic.twitter.com/lc2jm2WnrQ— TOLOnews (@TOLOnews) August 6, 2021
Several videos have emerged in which incidents of mass looting were visible. Reports have stated that there was virtually no resistance by the Afghan forces against the Taliban and the provincial capital fell under the terrorists ‘without a single shot fired’.
Looting in Zaranj, the capital of Nimroz province after the city fell to the Taliban without a single shot being fired. pic.twitter.com/OivQLZWMR4— BILAL SARWARY (@bsarwary) August 6, 2021
We had earlier reported on how the Taliban had captured five major cities, all provincial capitals, within just three days last week. While Zaranj fell on August 6, several other cities in Northern areas like Kunduz, Sar-e-Pul, Taloqan and Sheberghan fell in quick succession. Key infrastructures like army headquarters and air bases, police stations and warehouses have fallen under the Taliban, not to mention strategic roads and opium trading routes.
The Islamist groups now control around two-thirds of Afghanistan, and already control or about to control 11 provincial capitals. As the Taliban capture more areas, imposing Islamic Sharia law and executing opponents, civilians from those areas are rushing to the capital. However, this has created the risk of Taliban fighters also entering the city disguised as escaping civilians.
International watchers are now predicting that Kabul will fall soon too, effectively conveying the Taliban’s total control over the war-torn country.
International leaders urge Taliban to halt offensive strikes
Jeffrey DeLaurentis, a Senior U.S. diplomat, has urged the Taliban to halt the offensive attacks and seek a political settlement to protect the infrastructure and people of Afghanistan. Deborah Lyons, UN special envoy for Afghanistan, questioned the commitment given by the Taliban to a political settlement and told the UN Security Council that the war in the region had entered a deadlier and more destructive phase which is much similar to the war that was witnessed in Syria or Sarajevo.
Importance of Chabahar port for India
In 2003, India and Iran agreed to develop the Shahid Beheshti port of Chabahar, but the plan could not move ahead due to sanctions against Iran. In May 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi signed a bilateral agreement with the Iranian counterpart to refurbish one of the berths at Shahid Beheshti port and reconstruct a 600-meter long container handling facility at the port.
As it is located just 76 nautical miles (less than 150 KM) west of the Pakistani port of Gwadar that is under China’s control, Chabahar is one of the most important strategic areas of influence for India. Having control of the port operations, India can keep track of Chinese or Pakistani military activity in Gwadar.
It provides excellent connectivity to countries including Iran, Afghanistan and let India bypass Pakistan land corridors and Karachi port while transporting goods to the Central Asia region. In 2009, India also constructed the Zaranj-Delaram road that provides access to Garland highway connecting to four significant cities Herat, Kandahar, Kabul, and Mazar-e-Sharif. However, the Taliban’s terrorists have occupied the majority of the regions in these areas.