Taliban negotiator Shahabuddin Delawar, at a press conference in Moscow, said that “85 per cent of Afghanistan’s territory” is under the group’s control
NEW DELHI — Taliban on Friday claimed that it now controls 85 per cent of Afghanistan’s territory as the militants launched an offensive amid US troops withdrawal, reports AFP, though the group’s claims cannot be independently verified.
Taliban negotiator Shahabuddin Delawar, at a press conference in Moscow, said that “85 per cent of Afghanistan’s territory” is under the group’s control, including some 250 of the country’s 398 districts.
“All administrations and hospitals continue to operate in this territory. We made sure they would be able to continue their work“, he stressed speaking in Pashtun language.
He also took credit for the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan. “The current withdrawal of US forces was the result of the Taliban’s struggle,” he said.
On Thursday, the Taliban captured the Islam Qala customs post on the border of Iran and Afghanistan.
Following the Taliban’s seizure of the border post, the Afghanistan security forces reportedly fled to Iran after clashes erupted in Islam Qala, reports IANS.
Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden has defended the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, saying it was “not inevitable” that the country would fall to the emboldened Taliban.
US forces will leave the country nearly 20 years after American forces toppled the Taliban regime in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. The US military has “achieved” its goals in Afghanistan — killing Osama bin Laden, degrading Al-Qaeda, and preventing more attacks on the United States, Biden said in a White House speech, according to media reports.
“We are ending America’s longest war,” Biden said.
“The status quo is not an option,” Biden said of staying in the country. “I will not send another generation of Americans to war in Afghanistan.”
The troops withdrawal will be completed by August 31.