After seizing Islam Qala on Iran frontier, Taliban insurgents capture crucial Torghundi border port on Afghanistan-Turkmenistan border as government says efforts to recapture the crossings are ongoing.

Afghan soldiers keep watch at a checkpoint in the Guzara district of Herat province, Afghanistan on July 9, 2021.
Afghan soldiers keep watch at a checkpoint in the Guzara district of Herat province, Afghanistan on July 9, 2021. (Reuters)

Taliban fighters have captured Afghanistan's key border crossing with Turkmenistan, as the insurgents continued a blistering offensive across the country.

"The important Torghundi border port has been fully captured," Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the insurgents, told reporters on Friday. 

Afghanistan's Interior Ministry spokesman Tareq Arian said security forces at the port had been "temporarily relocated" and efforts had been launched to recapture the crossing.

Insurgents say control 85 percent of country

Also on Friday, a Taliban delegate in Russia said the group now controls 85 percent of Afghanistan's territory, though the group's claims cannot be independently verified.

At a press conference in Moscow, Taliban negotiator Shahabuddin Delawar said that "85 percent of Afghanistan's territory" is under the group's control, including some 250 of the country's 398 districts.

"All administrative bodies and hospitals continue their work on this territory. We ensured their functionality," he said, calling on international organisations "not to interrupt their missions."

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Delawar said that the US withdrawal was a result of the Taliban bringing Afghanistan's population over to its side under the "principle of Islam".

"The United States was forced to leave our territory," he said.

He added that there was no agreement with the United States for the Taliban not to attack administrative centres remaining under Kabul's control.

"These are our internal affairs," Delawar said.

READ MORE: The Taliban is convincing Afghan forces not to fight them

US exit from Afghanistan 

US President Biden said on Thursday that Washington's exit from Afghanistan would be complete on August 31, nearly 20 years after the military mission began.

He added it was "not inevitable" that the country would fall to the emboldened Taliban.

But hours after Biden's speech, the Taliban said it captured Islam Qala, Afghanistan's most important border crossing with Iran.

Taliban said fighters had seized the border town of Islam Qala - completing an arc of territory from the Iranian border to the frontier with China.

Afghan officials said efforts are under way to recapture the site.

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Source: AFP