MOSCOW, August 5./TASS/. The offensive by the Taliban movement (outlawed in Russia) in Afghanistan is losing steam and it has no resources for seizing major cities, including Kabul, Russian Foreign Ministry Deputy Spokesman Alexander Bikantov told a briefing on Thursday.
"The Taliban has no resources to capture and hold the major cities, including the country’s capital city Kabul. Their offensive is gradually running out of steam," he said.
Government troops have managed to regain control over the lost districts in some provinces, the diplomat stressed.
"The situation in Afghanistan is degrading. This is connected to a great extent with the decision of the US and NATO to delay the full withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan," Bikantov went on to say. "As a result, the Taliban has visibly stepped up its activity practically across the whole country. In a full-scale summer offensive, it has gained control of 80 to 100 new districts," he added. Early in August, numerous Taliban sorties were reported around major provincial cities, Bikantov said.
"Against this background, we continue to seek from all parties in Afghanistan the launch of substantive peace talks. With this aim, the participation of Russian Special Presidential Envoy for Afghanistan and Director of the Foreign Ministry’s Second Asian Department Zamir Kabulov is planned in a new meeting of the expanded trio (Russia, the US, China and Pakistan) in Doha, scheduled for August 11," he added.
He noted that Afghan troops were failing to cope with the onslaught of the Taliban, and the combat effectiveness of the regular units remains at a low level. "We see incidents of militants crossing en masse into the territory of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. The units of people’s militia formed on the ground are not very efficient either," the diplomat stated.