Taliban operating throughout 70% of Afghanistan, says BBC

Launching attacks and bombings that kill scores of civilians and challenge government control throughout around 70% of the country, according to the BBC
By Rick Docksai | Feb 01, 2018
Nearly 17 years after U.S. forces and their allies toppled Afghanistan's ruling Taliban, the Islamic sect not only survives but remains active throughout more than two-thirds of the country, according to a BBC study. Taliban fighters are regularly mounting attacks throughout 70% of Afghan territory, subjecting much of the Afghan population to recurring armed clashes, suicide bombings, and other violence.

The official Afghan government in Kabul claims control over most areas of the country. Terrorist attacks by Taliban and other Islamist groups have killed scores of Afghans in Kabul and other areas, with some provinces experiencing one or more new terrorist attacks a week.

"When I leave home, I'm uncertain whether I will come back alive," said one man, Sardar, in Shindand, a western district that suffers weekly attacks. "Explosions, terror and the Taliban are part of our daily life."

The Taliban only fully control of 14 Aghan provinces, amounting to around 4% of the country's territory, according to the BBC's report. But the U.S.-backed official Afghan government in Kabul doesn't have a solid hold over much of the country, either: Only 30% of Afghan territory is firmly under its authority.

 

The remaining 66% of Afghan territory is in open dispute, with nominal government control but frequently recurring Taliban attacks and varying degrees of continuous Taliban presence. In all, roughly half of Afghans live in provinces where recurring Taliban activity openly challenges Kabul's rule of law.

U.S. and Afghan officials have held peace talks with Taliban leaders in recent years, but U.S. President Donald Trump declared the talks over earlier this week. Meantime, a U.S. military has been deployed in the country since last year and is under orders to stay "indefinitely."

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