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Earlier in the day, the Taliban* reportedly seized one of the four combat helicopters supplied by India to Afghanistan, in Kunduz, the northern provincial capital of the war-torn country. The Taliban has claimed control over at least eight of the 34 provincial capitals in Afghanistan in the past six days.

The Taliban allegedly brought down an Iranian tactical reconnaissance drone – named the Mohajer-2N – in the western province of Farah on Wednesday. In pictures circulating on social media, Taliban militants can be seen standing next to remains of the crashed drone which had reportedly flown into Afghan airspace.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said that cadres have seized a drone in bordering area with Iran. “It is under investigation how the drone entered Afghanistan airspace,” he added.

Earlier in the day, while taking control of Kunduz airport, the Islamist group also seized a Soviet era Mi-24V attack helicopter with the serial number 123. India gave four such attack helicopters to Afghanistan Air Force in 2019 as a replacement for the four attack helicopters previously donated in 2015.

​Meanwhile, Mujahid added that the Taliban will protect all embassies and international institutions in the country and anyone who attacks these offices or institutions will be punished.

“We are concerned about the security of embassies, international institutions and diplomatic missions,” the spokesman told Tasnim News Agency while adding that a suitable plan has been drawn up to protect these centres.

A Taliban spokesman said the Taliban are committed to protecting the property and lives of people, including foreigners living in Afghanistan, and warned other armed groups operating in the country that there would be reprisals if people were not treated with respect. Earlier, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban’s deputy political leader, met with Thomas Nicholson, the EU Special Representative for Afghanistan, to discuss the security of foreign and local staff of organisations and embassies based in Afghanistan.

On Tuesday, India closed down its Mazar-i-Sharif consulate in Afghanistan and asked Indian nationals to leave the conflict zone as soon as possible.

The Taliban escalated its attack against the Kabul-led forces soon after the US said NATO troops would quit the country by the end of August.