At least seven Taliban reported killed in Panjshir fighting

Taliban claim of controlling 90% of Afghan border is ‘absolute lie’: govt

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Kabul: The Ministry of Defence said on Friday that the Taliban’s claim to own 90% of Afghanistan’s borders is an “absolute lie,” insisting that government forces control the country’s borders.

“It is baseless propaganda,” deputy spokesman of the Ministry of Defence Fawad Aman told AFP, a day after the insurgents made the claim, which was not possible to independently verify.

The Taliban’s claim on Thursday came after the group captured key border crossings with Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Pakistan in recent weeks in a staggering offensive launched as US-led foreign forces began their final troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.

On Friday, Oman insisted that government forces control the country’s borders and all “major cities and highways”.

Although there has been a reduction in large-scale fighting during Eid al-Adha this week, the Ministry of the Interior has accused the Taliban of killing about 100 civilians in the town of Spinboldak, which borders Pakistan, since they seized the border crossing last week.

“Afghan security forces will soon take revenge on these wild terrorists,” interior ministry spokesman Mirwais Stanekzai said on Twitter.

“The Taliban whenever they get control (of territory), the first thing they do is destroy public facilities or public infrastructure, harass people and forcefully displace families,” Aman told AFP.

“It happened in Spin Boldak too.”

With almost all US-led foreign troops withdrawing, the revived Taliban now controls about half of the approximately 400 areas in Afghanistan.

Earlier this week, the chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff General Mark Milley said the Taliban appear to have “strategic momentum” on the battlefield.

Milli added that as militants put pressure on about half of the country’s capital cities, the Afghan army is “integrating their forces” to protect these major urban centers.

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