A new study finds that the Taliban militants are openly active in 70 percent of Afghanistan’s soil, fully controlling four percent of the country and having presence in another 66 percent.
(AhlulBayt News Agency) - A new study finds that the Taliban militants are openly active in 70 percent of Afghanistan’s soil, fully controlling four percent of the country and having presence in another 66 percent.
The study released by the BBC on Tuesday shows that the Taliban forces are in full control of 14 Afghan districts (four percent of Afghanistan) and are openly active in 263 (66 percent) others.
The BBC conducted the research in 399 districts across Afghanistan between August 23 and 21 November, using a network of its reporters who spoke to over 1,200 individual local forces across the country.
The research shows that nearly 15 million people - half the population - are living in areas affected by the Taliban presence.
The results are significantly higher than the most recent assessment of 407 districts by the NATO-led coalition, which said on Tuesday that the militant group contested or controlled 44 percent of Afghan districts as of October 2017.
The BBC study said that the Afghan government controlled 122 districts, or about 30 percent of the country, but noted that even those areas are not safe from Taliban attacks.
An Afghan government spokesman has downplayed the BBC findings.
The Pentagon did not directly comment on the BBC study, but pointed to the latest figures by NATO, which shows that nearly 56 percent of Afghanistan’s territory was under Afghan government control or influence.
The BBC study also said Daesh Takfiri terrorists are also active in 30 Afghan districts in the east and the north, but they are not in control of any specific area.
The study was released amid a sharp spike in terror attacks by both and Daesh against Afghan civilians and security forces.
Even the Afghan capital is not safe Daesh and Taliban militancy.
Last week, Kabul witnessed large Taliban bombing, which hit near foreign diplomatic missions and government buildings and left over 100 people dead.
Many parts of the country remain plagued by militancy despite the presence of thousands of foreign troops.
The United States -- under Republican George W. Bush’s presidency -- and its allies invaded Afghanistan on October 7, 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror.
The offensive removed the Taliban from power, but insecurity continues to rise across the Asian country.
Afghanistan ‘obvious choice for Daesh’
In a TV debate on Tuesday, Michael Lane, member of the American Institute for Foreign Policy, warned that Daesh militants are likely to use the security void in Afghanistan and intensify their presence in the country after they were defeated in Iraq and Syria.
“Afghanistan is an obvious choice for the defeated ISIS (Daesh) in the theaters of Syria and Iraq. They have really no place else to go. Right now Afghanistan provides something of a safe sanctuary for them,” he said.
“The government of Afghanistan is really only the government of Kabul, it does not really control the whole country,” he added.
Pointing to possible collaboration between the Taliban and Daesh militants in Afghanistan, he noted, "They (The Taliban) are not necessarily perfect allies with ISIS, but there is certainly room inside the outlined areas of Afghanistan for more than one terrorist group to operate and I think the ISIS fighters look at it as sort of a safe haven."
On Monday, Daesh gunmen launched a pre-dawn attack on an army outpost guarding a military academy in Kabul, killing at least 11 Afghan soldiers and wounding another 16.
Daesh has claimed responsibility for a number of similar attacks in Afghanistan over the past two years.
Ayatollah Khamenei: U.S. tries to justify its presence in region by relocating ISIS to Afghanistan
Meanwhile Ayatollah Khamenei, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, asserted on January 30, 2018 that: I would like to use this opportunity to express my deepest condolences and sorrow for the events that have been taking place in our neighboring country, Afghanistan, carried out by those who claim to be Muslims; but indeed, they are extremely far from the reality of Islam.
About a month ago, 7 to 8 massacres have been executed by terrorists. During one of them, about 60 people were martyred, in another massacre about 50 people were killed, and during a separate massacre about 20 people were lost: these were in Kabul, Kandahar, and other places. They’ve admitted and testified that they are responsible for these attacks. Who? DAESH (ISIS).
Be aware, the hands that created DAESH, either in Iraq or in Syria, and committed all those crimes through DAESH, using DAESH as a means to carry out attacks against entire populations, are the same hands now transferring DAESH to Afghanistan.
They were defeated, previously, in Iraq and Syria. Now, they seek to ignite terror all over again in Afghanistan. It was only during the onset that they killed so many people, over the last month or approximately forty days. They kill both Shiites and Sunnis: their murdering sprees are not limited to the Shi’ite community. Well, during one tragic event, they killed about 50 Shi’ite seminary students. But they do not aim their attacks on only Shi’ite Muslims. They target ordinary civilians in Kabul or other places, non-militant people, Shiites and Sunnis alike, because for the US it doesn’t matter who they murder. What’s important, for the US, is to cause continuous unrest in our region.
The US seeks to inflict interior conflicts on countries of the region, to prevent them from opposing the impudent agent of arrogance: Zionism.
This represents one purpose for the US; its other purpose is to justify its presence. When there is unrest in Afghanistan, the US justifies its presence by saying they want to establish "peace and security." However, they themselves caused the unrest. The incidents in Afghanistan were all caused by the US, either by use of a mediator or directly, over 20 years ago. That is, the USA is the main cause for massacres and murders in the region, using the pretext of religion. Now, they carry on. They seek continuous unrest: in order to maintain their presence here and to achieve their political and economic goals. God’s curse be upon the arrogant powers, their agents, as well as the vicious Zionist regime and the U.S. for destroying Muslims in such a horrendous manner.