Dawa Khan Menapal, the head of the Government Media and Information Centre of Afghanistan, has been assassinated by the Taliban—who publicly claimed responsibility for the radical murder.
“This is the beginning and see how other provinces fall in our hands very soon,” warned a Taliban Commander, adding Menapal had been “punished for his deeds”.
“He [Menapal] was a young man who stood like a mountain in the face of enemy propaganda, and who was always a major supporter of the [Afghan] regime,” said Mirwais Stanikzai, a spokesperson of the interior ministry.
This isn’t the first of the Talibans attack on Afghanistan. Since the U.S. declared it was withdrawing from the country, the Taliban has begun to grow in power, spreading violence throughout the country. The Taliban currently controls 70% of the country.
“Civilians find themselves in between warring parties. They are being displaced from their homes and are often the first victims of the conflict,” said Mike Bonke, Action Against Hunger’s country director in Afghanistan.
“The Taliban launched violent attacks on the outskirts of (provincial capital) Sheberghan this week and during heavy clashes a pro-government militia forces’ commander loyal to Dustom was killed,” said Abdul Qader Malia, the deputy governor of Jowzjan province.
“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.” Tweeted U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Ross Wilson.
Now—with Dawa Khan Menapal’s assassination—Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani must strengthen his elected government if he is to prevent being completely taken over by terrorist militias.
This Taliban takeover is the result of the U.S. withdrawing, despite already owning most of Afghanistan. This brings into question: Is removing U.S. troops from Afghanistan giving more power and resources to the Taliban? Will this change in power effect U.S. intelligence of Al-Qaeda presence in Afghanistan?