Taliban control 65pc of Afghanistan: EU official

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Kabul

Taliban tightened their grip on captured Afghan territory on Tuesday as civilians hid in their homes, with an EU official saying the militants now controlled 65% of the country after a string of sudden gains as foreign forces pull out.

President Ashraf Ghani called on regional strongmen to support his government, while a UN official said advances made in human rights in the 20 years since the insurgent group was ousted from power were in danger of being erased.

In the capital Kabul, Ghani’s aides said he was seeking help from regional militias he has squabbled with over the years to rally to the defence of his government. He had also appealed to civilians to defend Afghanistan’s “democratic fabric”.

In the town of Aibak, capital of Samangan province on the main road between the northern town of Mazar-i-Sharif and Kabul, Taliban fighters were consolidating their control, moving into government buildings, residents said. —Agencies

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