The Taliban claim to control 85 percent of Afghanistan and have taken control of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border crossing.

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The Taliban claim to control 85 percent of Afghanistan and have taken control of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border crossing.

The Taliban has claimed possession of a vital border crossing with Pakistan, the latest point to fall under Taliban control in recent weeks, after asserting last week that they now control 85 percent of Afghanistan’s land amid the final phases of the US pullout.

According to the Associated Press, an Afghan official said on Tuesday that a senior government team, including the head of the country’s reconciliation council, will meet with the Taliban in Doha, Qatar, to begin long-delayed peace talks between the two sides.

While it is impossible to verify the Taliban’s claims about area control, the proportion is significantly greater than previous Taliban claims that more than a third of the country’s 421 districts and district centers were under their control.

A Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, posted a video of fighters in the southeastern town of Spin Boldak on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border on Wednesday. Residents of Chaman, Pakistan’s border town, said they saw the Taliban’s characteristic white flag flying across the border line and Taliban vehicles passing through the area.

Continue reading below for more Associated Press reporting.

However, an Afghan government official in southern Kandahar province, which includes Spin Boldak, disputed that the Taliban had gained control. Without providing an explanation, the official declined to be named by name.

In recent weeks, the Taliban have gained control of a number of significant Afghan border crossings, including those with Iran, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan. The border crossing with Iran at Islam Qala, in Afghanistan’s western Herat region, is extremely profitable and serves as a vital commerce route.

Spin Boldak is a vital link between Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi and Afghanistan, a landlocked country that relies on the Arabian Sea port.

As Afghan forces abandoned their stations, many Afghan districts fell to the Taliban without a fight. According to reports, Spin Boldak also surrendered without a fight.

Last week, more than 1,000 Afghan military troops escaped across the border into northern Tajikistan to escape the approaching Taliban in northern Afghanistan, a traditional stronghold of US-allied warlords. A few hundred Afghan troops have also crossed into Iran, according to Iran.

Taking control of important border crossings will almost certainly result in significant cash for the Taliban, as well as bolstering their negotiating position with the Kabul government in the future.

The Taliban are on the rise. This is a condensed version of the information.

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