The Taliban militant group controls or contests 45 percent of the districts in Afghanistan, the Long War Journal assessment report has said.
The LWJ report released no Tuesday, highlights the Taliban’s rural control, “a key source of insurgent strength that the U.S. military underestimates. The coalition and Afghan government cannot roll back Taliban gains or ultimately defeat it while ignoring the Taliban’s rural advantage,” it reads.
According to FDD’s Long War Journal estimation, the Taliban currently controls 41 districts and contests an additional 118.
“The assessment is developed by regularly evaluating local, open-source reports for each district in Afghanistan. A controlled district is one in which the Taliban is openly administering a district, providing services and security, running the local courts and imposing sharia law,” the report said.
Overall, LWJ has determined that 45 percent of Afghanistan’s districts are controlled or contested by the Taliban.
The Afghan Defense Ministry, however, rejected the LWJ report, emphasized on reclaiming the areas.
“We reject this report, only a few districts are under-control of the Taliban,” the Defense Ministry Spokesman Dawlat Waziri said. “In coming winter season we are keen to launch clearance operation for recapturing these districts beside training the security forces,” he added.
According to Afghan government, the Taliban only controls eight districts and threatens a few others in the country.