Taliban Claims It Controls 85 Percent of Afghanistan, Specialists Agree
The Taliban "currently control 85 percent of Afghanistan," Movement spokesman Suhali Shahin told the South China Morning Post. The Islamists launched an offensive into government-controlled territories in late June and early July amid the withdrawal of NATO troops.
Mr. Shaheen pledged that the Taliban terrorist group would not allow al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups to operate from Afghanistan. He assured that the movement would not allow Uyghur separatists who had previously sought refuge in Afghanistan to enter the country.
The Russia's RIA Novosti with reference to an unnamed source, on Friday the Taliban entered Kandahar, the second most populous city in Afghanistan. There were battles in the city in the area of the central prison, now they continue in the area of the market. Several civilians were killed or injured.
The seizure by the Islamists of two checkpoints on the borders with Turkmenistan and Iran in the Herat province was also confirmed.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Friday that Taliban militants have recently occupied dozens of regional centers in Afghanistan. "We believe that they are going to threaten the provincial centers as well," he said.
The Taliban itself announced on Wednesday that it controls 162 of the 398 Afghan districts. According to media estimates, there are at least a hundred such districts.
Afghan border-guard soldiers escaped Taliban to the Iranian side
On the night of July 5, the Islamists seized six counties in the Badakhshan province, bordering Tajikistan, thus putting 190 kilometers of the Tajik-Afghan border under their control. More than 1,500 Afghan soldiers fled to Tajikistan in two weeks. At the end of June, militants seized the key border point Sherkhon-Bandar, through which goods from South and Southeast Asia are imported to Tajikistan.
Taliban also appeared to be under control of the major part of the border with Iran. A footage has shown the Afghan border-guard unit soldiers escaping on the Iranian side.
On June 4, the Taliban captured Panjivai, a key area in Kandahar province, 15 kilometers from its center. Two days earlier, US and NATO forces completely abandoned their largest air base, Bagram.
Putin's Envoy Talked With the Terrorists in Moscow
Tajikistan has turned to the Collective Security Treaty Organization for assistance in border protection. According to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, in the event of an attack on Tajikistan from the Afghan border, "this will be immediately subject to consideration by the CSTO."
I read somewhere or heard on TV whether we are going to send troops to Afghanistan: I think the answer is obvious, Lavrov added.
On July 8, a Taliban delegation flew to Moscow for talks. Vladimir Putin's special envoy for Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, held talks with them. As reported on the website of the Russian Foreign Ministry, the Taliban "assured that the group will not violate the borders of the Central Asian states, as well as it guarantees of the security of diplomatic and consular missions of foreign states in Afghanistan."