A new report by the US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) has reported that the Taliban’s territory gains in Afghanistan have continued into 2016, with around 5 percent of the country having fallen into Taliban hands just so far in 2016.
All told, the SIGAR report said the Afghan government only controls 65.6 percent of the country anymore, meaning they’ve lost more than a third of the nation. This follows on previous reports that the Taliban has more territory in the country than at any time since the 2001 US invasion and occupation began.
The Pentagon attempted to downplay the latest reports, with Gen. John Nicholson, the top US commander in Afghanistan, insisting that the Taliban’s new territory is mostly rural, and that they have “failed” to seize and hold major urban centers nationwide.
Afghanistan is overwhelmingly a rural country, however, with roughly three quarters of the population living in rural environments. That the Taliban are making gains predominantly in that area should not be particularly surprising, and that the Afghan government is able to keep at least some urban environments isn’t exactly a sign of progress.
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