Report: Taliban Controls More of Afghanistan Than Any Time Since 2001

Inspector General Faults Mounting Failures

15 years into the US occupation of Afghanistan, the nation is a less occupied than ever, as a new report to Congress warns that the Taliban’s military gains have left it in control of a bigger chunk of the country than at any time since the 2001 US invasion.

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), the author of the quarterly report, cited tens of billions of dollars in waste and a general lack of security, warning the situation in Afghanistan is worsening by most metrics.

Pentagon officials have been warning for awhile that the situation on the ground is deteriorating, but the SIGAR report offered more specifics and a stark metric, territory hold, by which to measure just how badly things are getting.

The estimates have the Taliban in control of about 30% of the country, though the amount of times districts change hand means that there is a lot of “disputed” territory at any given time, and the exact numbers are very fluid.

While Pentagon officials insist the Afghan military is getting stronger, the recent reports on how a broad chunk of that military exists only on paper simply adds to evidence that the war is going poorly, and that the US military’s occupation is going to continue for decades to come.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.