The Taliban stated Friday it now controls 85 p.c of Afghanistan’s territory and that the group made no promise to the US to chorus from attacking Afghan administrative centres, as its militants mount an offensive amid a closing pullout of US troops. The group’s territorial claims can’t be independently verified.
At a press convention in Moscow, Taliban negotiator Shahabuddin Delawar stated that “85 p.c of Afghanistan’s territory” is underneath the group’s management, together with some 250 of the nation’s 398 districts.
Delawar additionally stated the Taliban is free to assault administrative centres in Afghanistan because it made no promise to the US to go away them alone. However, he added, the group wouldn’t take provincial capitals by power.
The Taliban negotiator was referring to a February 2020 US-Taliban settlement geared toward enabling US troops to withdraw from Afghanistan after twenty years of bloodshed, now referred to as “America’s longest warfare” within the US. The Afghan authorities was not get together to the settlement or concerned within the talks main as much as it.
The three-page settlement lays out a timeline for the withdrawal of US and overseas troops, in addition to ensures that forestall using Afghan soil by teams in opposition to US safety pursuits. Nevertheless it consists of no dedication to a ceasefire, leaving it as an “merchandise on the agenda of [future] intra-Afghan dialogue and negotiations”.
Friday’s press convention within the Russian capital comes as an intense Taliban offensive in northern and western Afghanistan put the fledgling Afghan air power underneath extreme pressure as the lightning operation overwhelmed authorities forces.
Greater than 1,000 Afghan troops fled into Tajikistan this week after a blistering Taliban offensive in northern Afghanistan.
Afghan authorities have vowed to retake all of the districts misplaced to the Taliban and deployed lots of of commandos to counter the insurgents’ offensive within the north.
The preventing within the north has compelled Moscow to shut its consulate within the metropolis of Mazar-i-Sharif, the capital of Balkh province and one among Afghanistan’s largest and most secure city centres close to the border with Uzbekistan.
Afghans against the Taliban, together with regional and ethnic militia teams, have additionally vowed to withstand, elevating the prospect of the nation’s descent into civil warfare.
On the Moscow information convention, three Taliban officers tried to sign that they didn’t pose a menace to the broader area, notably Russia’s pursuits in Central Asia.
Earlier Friday, Russian overseas ministry spokeswoman Maria stated Moscow is able to take “further measures” to “forestall aggression” on its ally Tajikistan and known as on all sides within the Afghan battle to “keep away from spreading tensions exterior of the nation.”
Afghans alone ought to decide their future, says Biden
The most recent Taliban declare got here hours after US President Joe Biden introduced the US mission in Afghanistan would finish on August 31, days earlier than a beforehand introduced September 11 pullout timed to coincide with the 9/11 assaults.
“We’re ending America’s longest warfare,” stated Biden. “The established order just isn’t an choice,” stated the president, who was the strongest voice in opposition to a US army surge in Afghanistan whereas he served as vice chairman within the Obama administration.
Biden stated the Afghan individuals alone ought to decide their future. He made no point out of the Afghan authorities’s exclusion from the US-Taliban negotiations.
The US president did acknowledge his uncertainty concerning the future, admitting, “The chance there may be going to be one unified authorities in Afghanistan controlling the entire nation is very unlikely”.
We’re repositioning our sources to fulfill terror threats the place they’re now: throughout South Asia, the Center East, and Africa.
However make no mistake: we have now the capabilities to guard the homeland from any resurgent terrorist problem emanating from Afghanistan.
— President Biden (@POTUS) July 8, 2021
The Taliban, for his or her half, welcomed Biden’s assertion.
Taliban declare key border crossing with Iran
In the meantime in western Afghanistan, the Taliban on Friday claimed to have captured the nation’s largest border crossing with Iran.
“The port of Islam Qala is now underneath our full management and we’ll attempt to put it again in operation at present,” Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the insurgents, advised AFP.
There was no fast affirmation of the federal government’s lack of management of the border crossing, and the Taliban’s declare couldn’t be independently verified.
Islam Qala is likely one of the main ports in Afghanistan, via which Kabul conducts most of its official commerce with Iran.
It’s the second key border crossing the insurgents have captured since they launched a sweeping offensive in early Could as US-led overseas forces started their closing withdrawal.
Final month the Taliban captured Shir Khan Bandar, Afghanistan’s major border crossing with Tajikistan, after fierce preventing that noticed lots of of Afghan troops flee to the neighbouring nation.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and REUTERS)