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The government of Afghanistan lost more territory to the Taliban in recent months, further plunging the number of districts under the control or influence of Kabul to unprecedented lows, a U.S. watchdog agency revealed in its latest report to Congress on Thursday.
Citing the American-NATO mission Resolute Support (RS), the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) noted that as of the end of October 2018, “Afghan government control  or influence  over [the 407] districts declined by nearly two percentage points since July to 53.8%. Population control also declined by about two points to 63.5%.”
Groups - Taliban - Control/influence - Contest - Percent
That means terrorist groups, mainly the Taliban, control/influence (50) or contest (138) slightly over 46 percent of Afghanistan’s 407 districts, marking an increase of nearly a percentage point since the last quarter, when SIGAR reported that the number of districts under the control or influence of Kabul “reached the lowest level” since the American government began keeping records in November 2015.
On Thursday, the watchdog agency also reported that predominantly Taliban-affiliated terrorist groups control, influence, or contest over 36 percent of the population.
Report - Reconstruction - Efforts - Beginning - October
In its quarterly report, which covers reconstruction efforts from the beginning of October to the end of December 2018, John Sopko, the SIGAR chief, explained:
The insurgency slightly increased its control or influence over areas where 10.8% of the population (3.6 million people) lived, a 0.3 percentage- point increase since last quarter but a decrease from the 12% reported in October 2017. The population living in contested areas increased to 8.5 million people (25.6% of the population), a nearly two percentage-point increase compared to the same period in 2017.
Territory - Taliban - Sits - Areas
Most of the territory held by the Taliban sits in rural areas.
SIGAR has long used the number of districts under the control of the Afghan governments or terrorist groups as a metric of stability...
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