The current and former governors of Herat, the National Directorate of Security chief, the deputy interior minister, and an Afghan Army Corps Commander have all joined the Taliban following the fall of Herat, the group claimed on Friday.
Afghan politician and warlord Mohammad Ismail Khan was the most prominent figure to defect. Khan, who formerly served as the governor of Herat and an Afghan government minister, was seen in a Taliban video Friday speaking alongside militants.
Herat’s deputy interior minister Abdul Rahman Rahman and National Directorate of Security Chief Hasib Sediqi, along with Afghan Army Corps commander, Khyal Nabi Ahmadzai, had also defected, Taliban spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi told journalists Friday.
Ahmadi also claimed “thousands” of Afghan Security Forces had joined Taliban ranks in Herat.
CNN has not been able to independently verify all the Taliban’s defection claims but has viewed video of Mohammad Ismail Khan with the militant group.
Herat, which is the third largest city in Afghanistan, fell to the Taliban on Friday. Currently, at least 17 provincial capitals are under Taliban control.