The Taliban control 90 percent of Afghanistan’s borders, a spokesman told Russian media on Thursday, following offensives carried out by the hardline Islamist group as foreign forces withdraw.
“Afghanistan’s borders with Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Iran, or about 90 percent of the border, are under our control,” Zabihullah Mujahid told the RIA Novosti news agency, a claim that could not be independently verified.
The militants are pushing across Afghanistan, snapping up territory, seizing border crossings and encircling cities, with the withdrawal of US and NATO troops all but complete.
The resurgent militants now control about half of Afghanistan’s roughly 400 districts.
Ex-Soviet Tajikistan, on Afghanistan’s border, held a large-scale military inspection -- the first of its kind in the country’s 30-year history.
The Taliban’s offensives in recent weeks have forced Afghan refugees and government troops to make their way across the Tajik border.
Russia, which maintains military bases in Central Asia, said it would stage military drills with Tajikistan and Uzbekistan near the border with Afghanistan next month.
- Half of all Afghanistan district centers under Taliban control: Top US general
- Taliban says will only fight in self defense during Eid al-Adha holiday
- Russia says Taliban ready for ‘compromise’ even as they advance on battlefield
- Turkey’s Erdogan says Afghanistan’s Taliban should ‘end the occupation’
- International community calls for ‘urgent end’ to Taliban’s military offensive
- Taliban leader ‘strenuously favors’ political settlement to end Afghan conflict
- Pakistan allows thousands to cross into border town seized by Taliban