A few days after the rapid departure of United States fighting troops from Afghanistan, the Taliban made more territorial gains in the country over the last twenty-four hours by capturing two key border crossings. One of them is in the town of Islam Qala in Herat province and is a strategic gateway into Iran.
#UPDATE The Taliban said Friday their fighters had captured Afghanistan’s key border crossing with Turkmenistan, as the insurgents continued a blistering offensive across the country pic.twitter.com/BWd0drcbrs
— AFP News Agency (@AFP) July 9, 2021
Nisar Ahmad Naseri, the acting head of the provincial customs, said that Torghundi and Islam Qala both fell to the Taliban and lie on the Turkmenistan border. A customs employee in Herat told CNN that the Taliban captured both crossings on Thursday. Zabihullah, the spokesperson, said on Friday that the Taliban was organizing the security of the border crossings, and it will reopen today.
Shahabuddin Delawar, the spokesman of Taliban, told a news conference in Moscow that all custom offices and Afghan borders that the Taliban recently captured will remain open and work as they were doing before. Further, he added that the Taliban want the world to know, especially neighboring nations, that they will bring stability and security at the Afghan borders.
What About the Offices and Hospitals in Taliban Captured Territory?
Delawar said that the group would take business considerations of Afghanistan very seriously. In addition, they will allow all exported and imported trade as per the existing laws of the country. He also claimed that the Taliban now control some eighty-five percent of Afghan territory. In this captured territory – all of the hospitals and offices are active and operational.
On the other hand, the independent experts of the security situation in Afghanistan believe that the Taliban has less than eighty-five percent control of the Afghan territory but made substantial successes in northwest, northeast, and southern Afghanistan in recent weeks. It took over almost all Takhar and Badakhshan during its rule from 1996 and 2001. Badakhshan shares a border with Tajikistan and China.
In the same way, the Taliban also made gains in the west of Afghanistan, especially in the Badghis and Herat provinces. Earlier this week, many Taliban fighters entered the capital of Badghis, although the Afghan government says the city is now back under its control. None of the provincial capitals of Afghanistan are under the control of the Taliban yet, and its fighters are on the borders of several of these cities, such as Kandahar in the south.
U.S. President Showed his Confidence in the Capabilities of Afghan Military
John Kirby, the spokesman of the Pentagon, told CNN that the situation in Afghanistan was upsetting. U.S. forces saw a worsening security situation on the ground. American President Joe Biden acknowledged that the Taliban were now at their strongest position since 2001. But he added that he trusted the capacity and ability of the Afghan military after its better training with better equipment than the Taliban.
The U.S. president said about the Afghan government that they could have the strength of forces and the latest equipment. However, according to the Long War Journal (the project that tracks territorial control in Afghanistan), two hundred and four districts are now under Taliban control, with seventy-four under the control of the Afghan government, and one hundred and twenty are still disputed.
Though, the government controls most of the areas around the country’s capital Kabul. The Long War Journal gave their estimation, which states that some 12.8 million Afghans live in areas controlled by the Taliban, with 10.8 million living in regions controlled by the government and 9.4 million people in the regions that are still contested.