Taliban claim to control 85% of Afghanistan as US troops withdraw

Taliban claim to control 85% of Afghanistan as US troops withdraw

The Taliban claimed today to control at least 85 per cent of Afghanistan as the Islamist movement gains ground in a major offensive amid the final withdrawal of US troops.

Spokesman Shahabuddin Delawar told a press conference in Moscow that the Islamists had seized some 250 of the country’s 398 districts.

Government forces have been easily defeated by Taliban fighters and more than 1,000 Afghan troops fled into Tajikistan earlier this week.

The movement insisted that it will not take provincial capitals by force but said that the peace deal it signed with the United States in February 2020, which the Afghan government was not party to, leaves it free to attack administrative centres.

Groups of women have armed themselves, forming self-defence militia in the north and central regions of Afghanistan, where they have taken to the streets chanting anti-Taliban slogans.

Its fighters captured a major crossing into Iran today as Tehran mobilised troops to secure the border.

The Afghan government pledged to retake control of all territory overrun by the Taliban.

Despite heavy fighting continuing, the Islamists said that they plan to offer a peace deal to Kabul.

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