A delegation of the Taliban terror group met with representatives of the Russian foreign ministry in Moscow, where one delegate claimed the Taliban currently controls about “85 percent of Afghanistan’s territory,” Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported Friday.
The Taliban, a jihadist terror group based in Afghanistan, controls roughly “85 percent of Afghanistan’s territory,” Taliban delegate Shahabuddin Delawar told reporters, as quoted by AFP.
Members of the Taliban delegation specifically claimed to hold sway over “about 250 of Afghanistan’s nearly 400 districts,” according to AFP. The French news agency noted the Taliban’s assertion was “impossible to independently verify and disputed by the government,” referring to Afghanistan’s internationally recognized government based in Kabul.
Taliban terrorists have allegedly “captured the [Afghan] border town of Islam Qala on the Iranian frontier and the Torghundi crossing with Turkmenistan,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told AFP on July 8.
A delegation of Taliban representatives landed in Moscow on Thursday to “assure” Russia the group would not “allow” any other jihadist organizations to use Afghanistan as a base for their operations.
“We came [to Moscow] to talk about the current situation in Afghanistan with the Russian side, and also to assure them that we are committed that we will not allow anyone to use the soil of Afghanistan against Russia, the neighboring countries and other countries,” Taliban representative Mohammad Sohail Shaheen told the Russian state-owned TASS News Agency on July 8.
“According to the representative, the Taliban seeks to discuss the situation in northern Afghanistan, after a significant portion of border regions came under the movement’s control,” TASS reported, alluding to the Taliban’s alleged territory gains.
“Taking Afghanistan by military force is not our policy, our policy is to find a political solution to the Afghan issue,” Mohammad Suhail Shaheen, identified by TASS as a “spokesman for the Taliban political office,” told the Russian news agency on July 8.
“We confirmed our commitment to a political solution here in Moscow once more,” Shaheen added. “We could capture provincial cities easily, but we remained outside them voluntarily.”
Russia’s foreign ministry issued a statement confirming its representatives met with members of the Taliban in Moscow on July 8 to discuss regional security threats from Afghanistan.
“We received assurances from the Taliban that they wouldn’t violate the borders of Central Asian countries and also their guarantees of security for foreign diplomatic and consular missions in Afghanistan,” the statement read.
Taliban terrorists have overtaken large swathes of Afghanistan in recent weeks amid a massive troop withdrawal from the country led by the U.S. and allied members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (N.A.T.O.). American and N.A.T.O. soldiers will completely exit Afghanistan by September, following a two-decade-long joint military operation in the country.