(New York Times) The Taliban have a significant footprint in Afghanistan, according to Bill Roggio, the editor of The Long War Journal, an online publication that is tracking Taliban control. Mr. Roggio has confirmed that about one-fifth of the country is controlled or contested by the Taliban, but based on his understanding of how the Taliban operate, he said, "they probably either control or heavily influence about a half of the country." RELATED ARTICLE
According to Mr. Roggio, "contested" districts are those where the Afghan government controls the district center but the Taliban control large areas outside of the district center. "Control" means the Taliban are openly administering a district. A United Nations analysis conducted in September concluded that the Taliban insurgency has spread through more of Afghanistan than at any point since 2001.
Taliban control has fluctuated over the past 14 years. The Taliban government collapsed after the American invasion, but the Taliban regained control of multiple districts between 2005 and 2009, Mr. Roggio said. They withdrew from these areas after the temporary surge of American troops at the beginning of President Obama’s administration, but they have been reclaiming territory since 2013.
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