A Taliban official said on Friday that the insurgents have seized of 85 per cent of territory in Afghanistan.

This claim was dismissed by experts, even as government officials expressed concern about the insurgents’ gains in border areas.

“We control 250 of the 398 districts — that is, 85 per cent of the Afghan soil under our control,” Shahabuddin Delawar, one of a three-member Taliban delegation, told reporters in Moscow, after talks with Russian officials.

However, the claim was dismissed by independent experts tracking Afghanistan’s conflict.

“The Taliban have routinely expressed inaccurate and exaggerated claims of how much territory they control in Afghanistan, and this claim was no different,” Jonathan Schroden, director at CNA, a non-profit research and analysis organisation, told The National.

“It’s propaganda, plain and simple.”

According to the Long War Journal, which maps the shifting control lines in the Afghan conflict, the Taliban hold sway in 205 districts. It says the number of districts under the government’s absolute control has dropped to 74, while 120 remain contested.

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