World Bulletin / News Desk.
The Taliban controls roughly one-tenth of Afghanistan, the U.S. said Friday, 15 years after it invaded the country to oust the extremist group.
The group controls a small percentage of Afghanistan’s population “but they contest another 20 to 25 percent,” Army Gen. John Nicholson told reporters via Skype.
“The Taliban clearly control 10 percent and the government controls roughly 65 to 70 percent,” the U.S. forces in Afghanistan commander said. “These are rough percentages.”
The situation on the ground has reached an “equilibrium”, or “stalemate”, Nicholson said.
“This is a positive in the sense of the majority of the population's under control of the government forces, and this is primarily the population centers and so on. And then the enemy is primarily in more rural areas that have less impact on the future of the country,” he said.
Commenting on a recently inked peace deal with an Afghan warlord, Nicholson said the development is “encouraging.
“This is one of the most important steps we see towards an eventual resolution of the conflict in Afghanistan,” he said.
The government there agreed to the accord with former Prime Minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar who heads the influential Hezb-i-Islami armed group.
Hekmatyar has a long and bloody past, and was once known as the “butcher of Kabul.” He is accused of ordering his fighters to gun down civilians and deliberately targeting civilian areas during Afghanistan’s 1992-1996 civil war.Last Mod: 24 Eylül 2016, 10:26