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Taliban Claims It Has Control Over 90 Percent Of Afghan Border Crossings

Afghan militia fighters keep watch for Taliban insurgents at an outpost in Afghanistan's Balkh Province.

The Taliban controls 90 percent of Afghanistan's borders, a spokesman for the group told Russian media on July 22 as militants continue to make territorial advances across the war-torn country while U.S.-led foreign forces near the completion of their pullout.

"Afghanistan's borders with Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Iran, or about 90 percent of the border, are under our control," Zabihullah Mujahid told the RIA Novosti news agency, a claim that could not be independently verified.

Mujahid's claim came a day after the top U.S. general said the Taliban controls almost half of the country's roughly 400 districts.

General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said July 21 that the Taliban appears to have the "strategic momentum" in their sweeping offensive, added that the militants' victory is far from assured.

However, Milley said that the militants controlled none of Afghanistan's main cities, and Afghan government troops are "consolidating their forces" to protect residents of major cities.

"A Taliban automatic military takeover is not a foregone conclusion," he said.

Tajikistan, one of Afghanistan's Central Asian neighbors, on July 22, held a large-scale military check -- the first of its kind in the country's 30-year history.

The Taliban's offensives in recent weeks have forced Afghan refugees and government troops to flee across the Tajik border.

Russia, which maintains bases in Central Asia, said it would stage military drills with Tajikistan and Uzbekistan near the border with Afghanistan next month.

With reporting by AFP, Reuters, and AP