The Taliban have captured a provincial capital city in Afghanistan for the first time since 2001. Zaranj, capital of the southern Nimroz province, is now in Taliban control. The police in Zaranj could not fight because there were too few Afghan soldiers to help. The Taliban said it was an important day for the group. This victory will increase the morale of Taliban fighters in other provinces. It said: "This is just the beginning. Other provinces will fall into our hands very soon." There is currently heavy fighting in other cities. They may also fall before the Taliban fight for the nation's capital Kabul.
US-led forces defeated the Taliban after the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York in 2001. Western powers spent 20 years training the Afghan army and police to keep the country peaceful. However, the Taliban never gave up fighting. The USA and the UK are now pulling their forces out of Afghanistan. They are ending their time in the country after 20 years. The UN's special envoy for Afghanistan, Deborah Lyons, says the fighting has entered "a new, deadlier, and more destructive phase". She warned that the country was heading for "catastrophe".