While the Taliban are currently leading an offensive to regain control of Afghanistan, one of their representatives said at a press conference in Moscow on Friday that they now control 85% of the country, all together. with the support of the population.
Propaganda rages on. The Taliban said Friday, July 9, that they controlled 85% of the territory of Afghanistan, including the largest border crossing with Iran, and that they had the support of the population, as they lead. an offensive against forces in Kabul as the Americans complete their withdrawal from the country.
At a press conference in Moscow, Shahabuddin Delawar, a representative of the Taliban, added that around 250 of the country’s 398 districts were now under insurgent control, but these claims could not be independently confirmed. .
“All administrations and hospitals continue to operate in this territory. We made sure that they would be able to continue their work,” he added, according to words translated from Pashtun to Russian.
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He assured that the current withdrawal of American forces was the result of the Taliban’s struggle. “We waged our fight, we made the population pass to our side,” he said, adding that “the United States had been forced to leave (their) territory”.
According to Shahabuddin Delawar, no agreement with Washington prevents the insurgents from taking the administrative centers of the districts remaining under Kabul’s control. But he maintained that the Taliban were not going to “take by force” these towns.
The Afghan forces, now deprived of crucial American air support, have lost a lot of ground, but assured Friday that they had regained control of the first provincial capital conquered this week by the insurgents, Qala-i-Naw, after heavy fighting.
US withdrawal completed August 31
Hours before the insurgent advance was announced, US President Joe Biden said in a speech that Washington’s military mission in Afghanistan would be completed on August 31, nearly twenty years after it began.
“We are ending America’s longest war” after the attacks of September 11, 2001, he stressed, hammering: “I will not send another generation of Americans to fight in Afghanistan.” The American president also affirmed that it was not “inevitable” to see the country fall into the hands of the Taliban, considering that the Afghan authorities have “the capacity” to ensure the continuity of the government.
But the Taliban now hold an arc of territory stretching from the Iranian border in the west to that with China in the northeast. They announced on Friday that they had captured Islam Qala, Afghanistan’s most important border crossing with Iran.
>> To see: American withdrawal from Afghanistan: the Taliban in force?
Moscow, which called on the warring parties to “restrain”, said the insurgents also control most of the Afghan border with Tajikistan.
According to a government official, Afghan forces are now trying to retake Islam Qala, which is located in Herat province. “All Afghan security forces, including border guards, are present in the area and are now trying to retake the site,” Interior Ministry spokesman Tareq Arian told AFP.
Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban, for his part told AFP that the Islam Qala border post was “completely” under the control of the insurgents, who “will put it back into operation today”.
It is one of the most important border crossings in Afghanistan – through which most of the legal trade between the two countries passes – and the second major border crossing taken by the Taliban since the start of their lightning offensive. in early May, when the Americans launched the last phase of their withdrawal.
“The country can be controlled”
Last month, insurgents captured Shir Khan Bandar, the main border crossing between Afghanistan and Tajikistan. A thousand Afghan soldiers had to seek refuge in Tajikistan after intense fighting.
Afghan forces have lost a lot of ground, especially in rural areas, as the Taliban surround major cities like Herat.
Suhail Shaheen, a spokesman for the Taliban, however told AFP that the insurgents wanted “a negotiated agreement” and “did not believe in a monopoly on power”.
The Taliban also welcomed Joe Biden’s announcement. “The sooner the better for the departure of American and foreign troops,” Suhail Shaheen responded.
They also launched an offensive targeting for the first time a provincial capital, Qala-i-Naw, where fighting pitted them against government forces for two days. Defense Ministry spokesman Fawad Aman announced on Twitter on Friday that Afghan forces had regained control of the city.
The country is going through “one of the most complicated stages of the transition,” Afghan President Ashraf Ghani admitted Thursday. “The country can be controlled,” he nevertheless assured, confident in the ability of his government to manage the crisis.