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Taliban control of Afghanistan on the rise, US data reveals

The Taliban strengthened its hold over Afghanistan in the second half of last year, according to new US military data...

Posted: Jan 30, 2018 7:23 PM
Updated: Jan 30, 2018 7:23 PM

The Taliban strengthened its hold over Afghanistan in the second half of last year, according to new US military data released to CNN on Tuesday.

In October 2017, 14% of Afghan districts were under the control or influence of the Taliban or other insurgents, an increase of one percentage point on the previous data from August.

The official figures offer a rare and tangible measure in which to assess the ongoing war -- a war that President Trump has pledged to win.

The newly released figures have been subject to some controversy, however. The US government's own ombudsman of the war, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), had earlier complained the US military had barred the information from being released to the public.

The new data was released by US Forces in Afghanistan to CNN following inquiries on SIGAR's complaint. According to the new information, 56% of districts were under Afghan government control or influence in October, while 30% are contested with the insurgency.

The increase, though incremental, is indicative of the Afghan army's loosening grip on the country in the face of a determined Taliban insurgency.

In November 2015, the Afghan government controlled about 72% of the country, while the insurgents influenced just 7%.

The news of the continued creep of Taliban influence in Afghanistan comes at the end of a week of violence and bloodshed across the country, which has left more than 130 people dead.

Both the Taliban and ISIS have claimed separate attacks in Kabul, including a siege at an international hotel that killed 22 people as well as a devastating suicide bombing using an ambulance.

Afghanistan's government declared a national day of mourning on Monday in response to the attack, but residents of Kabul have told CNN they no longer feel safe in their own capital.

A spokesman for US Forces in Afghanistan said the data was never meant to be restricted from the public and the SIGAR complaint was based on a misunderstanding.

But SIGAR insists it was originally told the information could not be made public.

John Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, said he was pleased the information had finally been released.

"It's unfortunate that they only did so after the press started to ask questions. We hope now they will release all the other important information they have unreasonably withheld from the American people," he said.

Previously, US forces have classified another key barometer of success in the war: the number of Afghan soldiers or police killed. They cited an Afghan government request to do so.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 513622

Reported Deaths: 10264
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34892556
DeSoto33234432
Hinds32638641
Jackson24854389
Rankin22507403
Lee16337242
Madison14922283
Jones14113247
Forrest13766259
Lauderdale12270324
Lowndes11305193
Lamar10659140
Pearl River9719244
Lafayette8846143
Hancock7836132
Washington7550169
Oktibbeha7210138
Monroe7010179
Pontotoc6990109
Warren6863178
Panola6759134
Neshoba6730210
Marshall6678141
Bolivar6445151
Union638297
Pike5928156
Alcorn5879107
Lincoln5530136
George510180
Prentiss503884
Tippah491482
Itawamba4844107
Scott477899
Adams4768125
Tate4756116
Leflore4729144
Copiah456495
Yazoo456491
Simpson4546117
Wayne443072
Covington433695
Sunflower4299106
Marion4277112
Coahoma4237109
Leake413990
Newton395781
Tishomingo383593
Grenada3777109
Stone365866
Jasper340666
Attala338290
Winston317892
Chickasaw315467
Clay312278
Clarke301195
Calhoun285049
Holmes271889
Smith269052
Yalobusha243947
Tallahatchie231553
Greene224749
Walthall221666
Lawrence218740
Perry213456
Amite209857
Webster205348
Noxubee188742
Montgomery181657
Carroll174541
Jefferson Davis173643
Tunica163239
Benton152939
Kemper145041
Choctaw136727
Claiborne134338
Humphreys131239
Franklin125529
Quitman107628
Wilkinson105939
Jefferson96934
Sharkey65221
Issaquena1957
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 845284

Reported Deaths: 16116
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1161552006
Mobile742111380
Madison53307732
Shelby38338368
Baldwin38085589
Tuscaloosa36022641
Montgomery34492781
Lee25562263
Calhoun22586518
Morgan22459406
Etowah20018517
Marshall18782316
Houston17731425
St. Clair16884358
Limestone16148218
Cullman16054303
Elmore15904294
Lauderdale14989306
Talladega14196299
DeKalb12972269
Walker12030380
Blount10717192
Autauga10517157
Jackson10162194
Coffee9417192
Colbert9342208
Dale9020191
Tallapoosa7256201
Russell708165
Chilton7018170
Escambia6957143
Covington6933195
Franklin6342108
Chambers5784142
Marion5406130
Dallas5285209
Pike5119109
Clarke484986
Lawrence4826129
Winston4780110
Geneva4642136
Bibb434094
Barbour369580
Butler3435100
Marengo342493
Monroe337266
Randolph334867
Pickens333188
Fayette330385
Henry320666
Hale318389
Cherokee317863
Crenshaw260477
Washington257052
Cleburne254460
Lamar251453
Clay250869
Macon244864
Conecuh192862
Coosa185047
Lowndes178168
Wilcox177438
Bullock152645
Perry141840
Sumter139241
Greene130245
Choctaw93228
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