KABUL: The Taliban now control more than 100 districts across Afghanistan with more territories falling to the insurgents every day, a report by the Long War Journal said Tuesday.
Since early May of this year, Afghanistan has been subject to a substantial increase in Taliban attacks with security forces seen retreating or ceding control to the militants without demur.
In a shocking revelation, the journal said that the Taliban have extended their control over more than 107 of Afghanistan’s 398 districts in a string of attacks across the nation. It said the government’s control is now limited to 92 districts while the remaining 199 districts are contested.
Nearly 15 million Afghans live in contested areas where the fighting rages on, around 6 million people live under the Taliban rule and roughly 12 million live in government-controlled areas, according to the report.
In a litany of territorial gains, the Taliban insurgents on Tuesday claimed to have captured the Sher Khan port in northern Afghanistan, connecting the landlocked country to Tajikistan. Afghan authorities confirmed that the border crossing was under the Taliban control.
On Wednesday, a Taliban attack forced at least 134 Afghan soldiers to cross the border and take refuge in Tajikistan. Officials said tens of troops had to flee to Tajikistan after the insurgents staged an attack on Shir Khan Port.
On Sunday, the Taliban claimed overrunning five districts as the estimated number of localities under their control surpassed those under the government authority. On Saturday, the Taliban claimed to have captured Yangi Qala, Chaal, and Hazar Samooch districts in the northern Takhar province, Chahar Bolak in Balkh, and the Kharwar district in Logar.
Local authorities in these provinces confirmed the fall to the Taliban.
This is as Afghan officials have said security forces have made “strategic retreats” in a bid to avoid civilian casualties. An advisor to the president, Wahid Omar, said on Tuesday that all fallen districts will be retaken from Taliban control.
The government is also hyping up about raids by Afghan forces that have inflicted heavy toll on the Taliban insurgents. The Defense Ministry said on Wednesday that over 209 Taliban rebels were killed in raids across the country. The ministry claimed on Tuesday to have killed nearly 300 insurgents in counter-terrorism offensives in one day.
Also, a spokesman for the Herat governor said Tuesday that at least 50 Taliban insurgents and suicide bombers were killed in an air raid by the Afghan security forces in Herat.