Taliban say they now control 85% of Afghanistan’s territory

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The Taliban claimed on Friday that they now control 85% of Afghanistan’s territory amid a surge in wins on the bottom and as American troops full their pullout from the war-battered nation.

The announcement got here at a press convention on the finish of a go to by a senior Taliban delegation to Moscow this week — a visit meant to supply assurances that the insurgents’ fast beneficial properties in Afghanistan don’t threaten Russia or its allies in Central Asia.

The declare, which is inconceivable to confirm, was significantly larger than earlier Taliban statements that greater than a 3rd of the nation’s 421 districts and district facilities had been of their control. There was no instant response from the federal government in Kabul on the most recent declare.

Earlier this week, Taliban advances pressured tons of of Afghan troopers to flee throughout the border into Tajikistan, which hosts a Russian navy base. Tajikistan in flip known as up 20,000 navy reservists to strengthen its southern border with Afghanistan. Russian officers have expressed concern that the Taliban surge may destabilize the ex-Soviet Central Asian nations north of Afghanistan.

From left, Suhil Shaheen, Mawlawi Shahabuddin Dilawar and Mohammad Naim, members of a political delegation from the Afghan Taliban’s motion, arrive for a information convention in Moscow, Russia, Friday, July 9, 2021. (AP)

Since mid-April, when President Joe Biden introduced the top to Afghanistan’s “forever war,” the Taliban have made strides all through the nation. They just lately have swept via dozens of districts, taking control, usually with out a struggle. Over the previous week, they seized border crossings with Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and on Thursday, with Iran.

However, on the Moscow presser, the Taliban promised to not assault provincial capitals or seize them by power, and expressed hopes for a “political resolution” with Kabul.

“We will not seize provincial capitals in order not to inflict death on Afghan citizen,” stated Taliban negotiator Mawlawi Shahabuddin Delawar.

Guarantees for which have been offered to the Afghan authorities, together with calls for for the discharge of extra Taliban prisoners from Afghan jails, Dilawar stated. He added that the Taliban now control 85% of Afghan territory.

FILE- In this Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021, nonetheless picture taken from video, smoke rises from gas tankers on the Islam Qala border with Iran, in Herat Province, west of Kabul, Afghanistan. (AP)

The Taliban additionally vowed they would “not allow anyone, any individual, any entity to use the soil of Afghanistan against the neighboring country, regional country and world country, including the United States and its allies.”

“We don’t want to fight. We want to find a political resolution through political negotiations,” stated Taliban spokesman Mohammad Sohail Shaheen. The Taliban representatives spoke via a translator.

Iranian media reported Friday that the Taliban had been in control of two border crossings between Afghanistan and Iran, together with the important thing transit route of Islam Qala seized on Thursday. Iranian state radio stated 300 Afghan troopers and civilians had escaped the Taliban advance and slipped throughout the border to Iran.

In this Wednesday, March 18, 2020 file photograph, hundreds of Afghan refugees stroll as they enter Afghanistan on the Islam Qala border crossing with Iran, within the western Herat Province. (AP)

In southern Kandahar there was preventing on Friday close to the provincial capital and the federal government had despatched extra troops to guard the jail there from makes an attempt by the Taliban to assault it and free the inmates.

Moscow, which fought a 10-year battle in Afghanistan that ended with Soviet troops’ withdrawal in 1989, has made a diplomatic comeback as a mediator, reaching out to feuding Afghan factions because it has jockeyed with the U.S. for affect within the nation.

It has hosted a number of rounds of talks on Afghanistan, most just lately in March, that concerned the Taliban — despite the fact that Russia has labeled them a terrorist group.

Asked about this week’s go to and the terrorist label, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated Friday that Moscow’s contacts with the Taliban had been “necessary, given how intensely the situation in Afghanistan is developing, how the situation on the border between Afghanistan and Tajikistan is developing.”

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