As the United States withdraws from Afghanistan, the Taliban claims it controls the majority of Afghanistan. This claim comes just days after U.S. President Joe Biden defends his decision to return American forces home after two decades of war.
On Friday, a Taliban delegation held a press conference at Moscow. This was after a week in which rapid advances by the militant group of northern Afghanistan have upset neighboring Central Asian nations and raised concerns about the U.S.-backed Kabul government’s ability to maintain control following the American withdrawal.
However, the three Taliban officials who attended the press conference tried to counter these concerns by presenting the group to be ready to share power. They also claimed that the Taliban now control 85% of Afghanistan, a number that is probably a significant exaggeration.
We don’t want fight. We are looking for a political solution via political negotiations. Negotiations of this kind are ongoing at Doha,” Suhail Shaheen said, a Taliban spokesperson, to reporters in remarks that were quoted by Interfax.
Officials stated that the Taliban did not seek total power control and would include all members of Afghan society into government.
Since the U.S. troops began withdrawing its troops in May, Taliban forces have increased in Afghanistan’s regions. They are estimated to have captured over a quarter the country’s districts. Russia claimed this week that the Taliban now control two-thirds Afghanistan’s border with Tajikistan. Videos have also emerged showing Taliban officials manning customs posts.
It is difficult to estimate the territory that the Taliban currently controls, and it has been disputed for a long time. The U.S. Special Inspection General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (2018) found that just over half the districts in Afghanistan were under the control of the Afghan government.
“We should declare that this is Mr. Biden’s personal opinion. You can see for yourselves that up to 14 districts have joined the Islamic emirates in a week,” Delawar said.
The rapid advances have deepened worries about Kabul government’s ability to withstand a Taliban offensive after the U.S. exit, and the threat that could pose to human rights, in particular for those of women.
The Taliban gains have also added renewed urgency to the issue of thousands of former Afghan interpreters and their families whose safety could be at risk and who the Biden administration has promised to help leave amid accusations it has abandoned them.