July 22, 2021: A senior US general said Wednesday that the Afghan Taliban controlled half of Afghanistan’s district centers, indicating a rapidly deteriorating security situation.
Insecurity in Afghanistan has been growing in recent weeks, largely due to fighting in its provinces as US-led foreign troops complete the evacuation and the Afghan Taliban launch major operations in districts and border crossings.
“Strategic momentum appears to be sort of with the Taliban,” General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters.
More than 200 of the 419 district centers are under Afghan Taliban control, Milley said. Last month, he said the Taliban controlled 81 district centers in Afghanistan. When the militant group did not seize any provincial capital, they are putting pressure on the outskirts of half of them, he said.
The government has accused them of destroying hundreds of government buildings in 29 of the country’s 34 provinces. The Taliban deny wreaking havoc through its fighters. Fifteen diplomatic missions in Afghanistan and a NATO envoy on Monday urged the Taliban to suspend their forces just hours after a rival Afghan side failed to reach an agreement on a ceasefire at a peace conference in Doha.
Biden declared the formal date of withdrawal of the US military mission in Afghanistan on August 31 as he appeared to be withdrawing from the conflict that began after al-Qaeda’s attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001.
Almost all US troops, except those guarding the embassy at Kabul and the airport, have left the country.
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