'Baseless Propaganda': Afghanistan's Gov't Rejects Claim Taliban Controls 90% of Country's Borders
11:18 GMT 23.07.2021 (Updated: 11:20 GMT 23.07.2021)
© AP Photo / Allauddin KhanIn this Friday, May 27, 2016 photo, Taliban fighters stand guard as senior leader of a breakaway faction of the Taliban Mullah Abdul Manan Niazi, not pictured, delivers a speech to his fighters, in Shindand district of Herat province, Afghanistan
© AP Photo / Allauddin Khan
Over the past few weeks, the Taliban* has reportedly managed to seize key Afghan border crossings with Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Pakistan amid the ongoing exit from Afghanistan by US-led forces.
Afghan Defence Ministry spokesman Fawad Aman has rejected the Taliban's claim of controlling 90 percent of Afghanistan's borders as an "absolute lie" and "baseless propaganda".
He told the news agency AFP on Friday that government forces were in control of the country's borders and all "main cities and highways".
Earlier in the day, Aman wrote on his Twitter page that Afghan government forces had liberated the Karokh district from the Taliban in the western province of Herat.
© REUTERS / DANISH SIDDIQUIA convoy of Afghan Special Forces is seen during the rescue mission of a police officer besieged at a check post surrounded by Taliban, in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, July 13, 2021. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui
A convoy of Afghan Special Forces is seen during the rescue mission of a police officer besieged at a check post surrounded by Taliban, in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, July 13, 2021. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui
© REUTERS / DANISH SIDDIQUI
"[…] Tens of TB [Taliban militants] were killed and wounded during operation. Offensive operations have been launched in Herat, and other parts of the province will soon be liberated", he added.
Aman was echoed by Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman Mirwais Stanekzai, who tweeted that "Afghan security forces will soon take revenge on these wild terrorists".
The remarks come after Taliban representative Zabiullah Mujahid on Thursday asserted that the movement currently controls approximately 90% of Afghanistan's borders.
"The borders of Afghanistan with Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran — about 90% of the borders are under our control […]. The border with Turkmenistan and the border with Iran are completely under our control. The borders of Pakistan (with the exception of a few small sections) are also under our control", Mujahid claimed.
Russia Says Tajik Border Under Almost Complete Control of Taliban
In a separate development on Thursday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Rudenko told Sputnik that the Taliban had seized almost full control of the Tajik border, adding that Afghanistan's northern provinces are swiftly turning into a new hotspot amid "the hasty pullout" of US and NATO troops.
According to him, the degradation of the security situation in Afghanistan poses a direct threat to Central Asia.
Rudenko spoke as the situation in Afghanistan is currently escalating amid the ongoing withdrawal of US and NATO forces from the country, raising the spectre of the Taliban once again rising to power.
Earlier this week, US President Joe Biden dismissed allegations that the Taliban is bound to seize control of all of Afghanistan, giving assurances that the Afghan National Army will be able to repel the insurgents.
"The Afghan troops have 300,000 well-equipped troops - as well-equipped as any army in the world - and an air force, against something like 75,000 Taliban. [A Taliban victory] is not inevitable", POTUS insisted.
*Taliban, a terrorist group banned in Russia