Afghanistan: government says report on Taliban control of country areas ‘groundless’


KABUL (TCA) — Officials in Afghanistan have rejected a BBC report on the Taliban’s control of large areas of Afghanistan as “groundless,” Russia’s Sputnik news agency reported.

According to a recent BBC report, the Taliban totally controls 14 districts equaling 4 percent of the territory of Afghanistan, and in 263 other districts (63 percent of territory) they display regular activity, conducting at least one terror attack every three months. The country’s remaining 122 districts are controlled by the central government in Kabul, but are still regularly attacked by the militants.

However, in an interview with Sputnik, deputy spokesman of the Defense Ministry of Afghanistan Mohammad Radmanesh said that the figures in the BBC report are invented.

“I confirm that there is a threat in some territories [of the country],” he said. “However, the BBC phone interview has no documented foundation. This [information] has been obtained as a result of questioning ignorant or hostile persons, and, therefore, this research is groundless.”

According to Radmanesh, documents in the government’s possession show that the government controls the entirety of Afghan territory, even the districts where a terror threat exists. And even the districts where terrorists exist, he said, the government is in control and security forces are taking all required measures to defeat the militants.

“Today we conducted 14 operations in 11 of the country’s provinces, which shows that in those 14 districts where security issues and threats exist, the armed forces are doing their best to defeat the terrorist groups.”

Radmanesh also called the message that the Taliban controls 15 million people in Afghanistan an overstatement, because the population of the major cities the government controls — Kabul, Nangarhar, Khost, Herat, Kandahar, Balkh, Bamyan, Daikundi, Parwan, Kapisa and Lashkargah — together total roughly 20 million people, with the total population of Afghanistan being roughly 34.5 million. So the math doesn’t add up on the BBC’s claims.

Afghanistan Parliament Commission on Defense Secretary Alkhajollah Kaisari also disputed the BBC’s data.

“We do not confirm the poll conducted by the BBC. They talked only to Taliban sympathizers, not the whole people.”

Sergey Kwan