A Taliban delegation in Moscow claimed that the group now controls 85% of Afghanistan’s territory as it sought to assuage Russian fears of Islamist insurgents from the country trickling into Central Asia—a region Moscow sees as its zone of influence.
At a news conference in Moscow on Friday, Taliban officials vowed to take all necessary measures to prevent the terror group, Islamic State, from operating in its territory and also said it will try to wipe out drug production in the country.
The move is viewed as an attempt by the insurgent group to address concerns in the Kremlin that Islamic Extremist groups may enter neighboring former Soviet states like Tajikistan alongside fleeing Afghan security personnel and refugees.
On Thursday, the Russian foreign ministry noted a sharp increase in tensions along the Afghan-Tajik border and warned that the Moscow-led CSTO alliance was “ready to engage its entire military capability to provide assistance to Tajikistan,” if the situation worsened in Afghanistan.
In response to the Russian threat, the Taliban said it would not attack the border area with Tajikistan.