In a shocking incident, popular Afghan comedian Nazar Mohammad, also known among fans in the war-ravaged country as Khasha Zwan, was forcefully escorted from his home by unidentified gunmen on Thursday night and murdered in the Kandahar province, local media reported. The comedian's family, who earlier served in the Kandahar Police, has blamed the militant organisation Taliban for the attack. However, the Taliban has rejected their involvement in the incident, which has come at a time when they have bolstered their offensive against security forces and civilians in Afghanistan. A video is also doing the rounds showing Nazar being taken out of his home by a few men, who are engaged in a heated argument with the comedian, while also slapping him on a couple of instances. 

The news of Nazar Mohammad's death was met with shock across Afghanistan, including many in the press expressing their condolences and condemning the violent attacks. Sharing a sketch of the late comedian, journalist and author Behrouz Boochani tweeted, "Shocking. The Taliban killed Nazar Mohammad, an Afghan comedian, in Kandahar. The world is watching how the Taliban are committing these barbaric crimes."

Likewise, journalist Malali Bashir shared her grief and said, "There is no end in sight to #Afghanistan miseries. The man who distributed laughs & smiles in the darkest times has left every Afghan sad. Please do not share the graphic pictures of comedian Nazar Mohammad AKA Khasha Zwan who was kidnapped & killed by Taliban in Kandahar." 

The past few weeks in Afghanistan have witnessed a big surge in violence as the Taliban has increased its attacks as foreign military forces are set to pull back from the country in the days ahead. As of now, the Taliban reportedly has control over half of the 419 district centres in Afghanistan, General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement. He added that the Taliban are yet to capture any of the 34 provincial capitals in Afghanistan, while stating that the Afghan security forces are uniting in an effort to gain strength over their positions to protect the main population centres, including Kabul.