UPDATED 2:10 PM PT – Friday, August 6, 2021
The Taliban has continued to gain strength as it assassinated a top Afghan government spokesman and has taken control of a key region. Reports on Friday said the terror group took responsibility for murdering the director of Afghanistan’s Government Information Media Center.
The Taliban also took control of a provincial capital, which is the first since the U.S. troop withdrawal. Witnesses said the state media director was gunned down while driving his car during Friday prayers.
Mahmood Sharifi, an eyewitness, said Dawa Khan Menapal got out of his armored vehicle and then moved into a taxi where he believed both him and the driver were shot. “People who were there to attend prayers tried to stop the attackers, but the attackers said ‘let us go or we will shoot you too.’ When people saw the weapons, they got out of their way,” said Sharifi.
We are saddened & disgusted by the Taliban’s targeted killing of Dawa Khan Meenapal, a friend and colleague, whose career was focused on providing truthful information to all Afghans about #Afghanistan. These murders are an affront to Afghans’ human rights & freedom of speech.
— Chargé d’Affaires Ross Wilson (@USAmbKabul) August 6, 2021
U.S. Ambassador Ross Wilson condemned the killing, saying the victim was a friend and colleague who dedicated his life to providing truthful information to all Afghans.
The slaying came just days after the unsuccessful bombing assassination attempt on Afghanistan’s acting defense minister, which killed eight people and wounded 20. In the meantime, the Taliban has taken over more than half of Afghanistan’s 421 districts.