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A general view from the scene after a strong explosion followed by gunfire hit Afghanistan's capital of Kabul near the defense minister's residence in Kabul, Afghanistan, on August 3, 2021. Photo: Sayed Khodaiberdi Sadat/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The Taliban killed the director of Afghanistan’s Government Information Media Center on Friday, AP reports.

Why it matters: The killing of Dawa Khan Menapal, who led the government’s press operations for the local and foreign media, is the latest in a series of attacks against government officials in recent months, per AP.

  • Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told AP that Menapal "was killed in a special attack of Mujahideen” and was "punished to his deeds."
  • Mirwais Stanikzai, a spokesperson of the interior ministry, confirmed Menapal's death to Reuters, saying "he 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."

The big picture: Attacks by the Taliban and other groups in Afghanistan have intensified in recent as U.S. and NATO forces withdraw from the country.

  • The Taliban on Wednesday claimed responsibility for this week's attack on the home of acting defense minister Bismillah Khan Mohammadi. The defense minister survived, but eight people were killed.
  • "The attack is the beginning of the retaliatory operations against the circles and leaders of the Kabul administration who are ordering attacks and the bombing of different parts of the country," a Taliban spokesperson said in a statement, per the Guardian.
  • The Taliban "will no longer remain indifferent" to Afghan military officials and foreign troops, and "will stand against them with full force."

Go deeper: Pulitzer-winning Reuters photojournalist killed in Afghanistan

Go deeper

Oct 19, 2021 - World

WHO, UNICEF to launch polio vaccine drive in Afghanistan

Afghan boys return to their homes after attending school in Chashma Dozak area of Badghis province on Oct. 16. Photo: Hoshang Hashimi/AFP via Getty Images

The World Health Organization and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) will launch a house-to-house vaccination campaign to inoculate children in Afghanistan against polio, the UN announced Monday.

Why it matters: The campaign, which begins Nov. 8 with the Taliban's backing, is the first such vaccine drive in over three years to reach all Afghan children, the press release noted.

Updated Oct 19, 2021 - World

Man with bow and arrow kills 5, wounds 2 in Norway

Police work at the scene in Kongsberg, Norway, on Oct. 13. Photo: Torstein Be/NTB/AFP via Getty Images

Police accused a 37-year-old Danish man on Monday of using "stabbing weapons" and a bow and arrow in a rampage that left five people dead and two others wounded in Norway last week.

The latest: Norwegian police said in a statement Monday that they have confiscated unspecified weapons, clarifying that the suspect seems to have first shot at some people with a bow and arrow, but then killed them with "stabbing weapon" in the town of Kongsberg.

26 mins ago - World

Biden's ambassador nominee: "China is not an Olympian power"

Nick Burns testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden's nominee to serve as ambassador to China delivered a stark assessment of the challenges the U.S. faces in confronting Beijing, but stressed that the rising superpower is "not all-powerful" and the West retains "substantial" advantages.

The big picture: Nicholas Burns, a retired career diplomat and former U.S. ambassador to NATO, used his confirmation hearing Wednesday to echo the growing bipartisan consensus that China poses "the greatest threat to the security of our country and the democratic world" in the 21st century.

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