Taliban say they now control 85% of Afghanistan’s territory

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From left, Mohammad Naim, Mawlawi Shahabuddin Dilawar and Suhil Shaheen, members of a political delegation from the Afghan Taliban’s movement, attend a news conference in Moscow, Russia, Friday, July 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

MOSCOW (AP) — The Taliban are claiming they now control 85% of Afghanistan’s territory amid a surge in wins on the ground and as American troops complete their pullout from the war-battered country.

Friday’s announcement came at a press conference at the end of a visit by a senior Taliban delegation to Moscow this week. The trip was meant to offer assurances that the insurgents’ quick gains in Afghanistan do not threaten Russia or its allies in Central Asia.

The Taliban claim is impossible to verify but is considerably higher than their previous statements about controlling more  more than a third of all of the the country’s districts and district centers.

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