Asia & Pacific

Top US General Says About Half of Afghanistan District Centres Under Taliban Control

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – About half of the district centres in Afghanistan are under the control of the Taliban* movement, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley said on Wednesday.

“As of today, more or less, I guess it’s about 212, 214, it’s in that range, the district centres are in Taliban control, it’s about half of the 419 that are out there”, Milley told reporters.

Milley said it appears the momentum is on the side of the Taliban* since they have seized a significant amount of territory over the last six months, however, they have not taken over any of the 34 provincial capitals.

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The general said the Taliban* are trying to isolate the major population centres and are currently putting pressure on the outskirts of 17 of the 34 provincial capitals. Afghan security forces are giving up district centres in order to consolidate forces to protect the provincial capitals, he added.

Milley said violence in Afghanistan is low at present because of the Eid al Adha holiday, but after it concludes on 23 July, the United States will have a better idea if the levels of violence will increase or whether there is a possibility of a negotiated outcome or Taliban* takeover.

US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin noted that US forces are still on track to leave Afghanistan by the end of August, but a small, robust presence of American troops will remain in Kabul to provide security to the diplomatic facilities and the international airport.

*Taliban, a terrorist group banned in Russia and anumber of other countries

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