Kabul govt control slips amid talks between US, Taliban – watchdog

The government in Kabul is steadily losing its grip on parts of Afghanistan even as American forces intensify their air campaign against insurgent groups, a US government watchdog said on Thursday. The latest assessment of Afghanistan’s security situation comes as the US pursues talks with the Taliban and seeks a way out of the 17-year war. Resolute Support, the US-led NATO mission in Afghanistan, says that as of October 31, only 63.5 percent of Afghans are living in areas controlled or influenced by the Kabul government – down from 65.2 percent in the previous quarter. According to the US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), which compiled the data, the decrease came as Kabul’s control or influence over Afghan districts dropped. SIGAR said just 53.8 percent of Afghanistan’s 407 districts are in government hands. Experts on Afghanistan say the number is lower still, AFP said.