Taliban say they control 90 percent of Afghanistan’s borders after offensives

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The Taliban control 90 percent of Afghanistan’s borders, a spokesman told Russian media on Thursday, following offensives carried out by the hardline Islamist group as foreign troops withdrew.

“Afghanistan’s borders with Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Iran, or about 90 percent of the border, are under our control,” Zabihullah Mujahid told RIA Novosti news agency, a claim that could not be independently verified.

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The militants are marching through Afghanistan, capturing territory, seizing border crossings and encircling cities, with the US and NATO forces almost completely withdrawing.

The resurgent militants now control about half of Afghanistan’s 400 or so districts.

Ex-Soviet Tajikistan, on the border with Afghanistan, held a large-scale military inspection – the first of its kind in the country’s 30-year history.

The Taliban’s offensives in recent weeks have forced Afghan refugees and government forces to cross the Tajik border.

Russia, which has military bases in Central Asia, said it would hold military exercises with Tajikistan and Uzbekistan near the border with Afghanistan next month.

Read more: Russia says Taliban are ready for ‘compromise’ even if they go further on the battlefield

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