Afghanistan: Who controls what

by Shereena Qazi & Yarno Ritzen

Since the Taliban was ousted from power following the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, the armed group's control over parts of Afghanistan has fluctuated widely.

According to a recent report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), the Western-backed Afghan government has lost control of nearly 5 percent of its territory to the Taliban since the beginning of this year.

The report says the area under Afghan government "control or influence" decreased to 65.6 percent by the end of May from 70.5 percent last year, based on data provided by US forces in Afghanistan.

That amounts to a loss of 19 of the country's approximately 400 governing districts.

However, the commander of US forces in Afghanistan, Army General John Nicholson, said the Taliban presence is mostly in rural areas.

Afghan officials, on the other hand, say an exact figure on areas controlled cannot be measured as the fight against the Taliban and other armed groups is still ongoing.

Based on reports gathered by Al Jazeera from local police, security forces and the Taliban, here is a conservative estimate of the areas in Afghanistan that are contested, under the Taliban, and under government forces.


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