KABUL, Afghanistan

Mounting Taliban assaults across Afghanistan have deprived at least 13 million needy people of basic public services, said an official on Thursday.

According to the country’s Independent Administrative Reform and Civil Service Commission, up to 260 public administrative buildings are destroyed in 160 districts of 29 provinces by explosives or other means such as setting fire and blowing up with bombs.

Findings by the commission further said looting of equipment and assets of public institutions took place in 82 districts that were recently captured by the Taliban.

Commission head Nader Nadery told a news conference that around 13 million Afghans are deprived from fundamental government services and development projects such as reconstruction of water supply networks and construction of wells due to drought, roads, bridges, schools, and hospitals.

“This all is just as a result of districts’ takeover by Taliban,” he said.

The Taliban, however, rejected these claims.

The group’s spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid via a statement dubbed this as “propaganda of the mercenary.”

“In 193 districts that have recently been cleared of the enemy, all kinds of services have been provided to the people,” he claimed.

Afghanistan’s Defense Ministry on Thursday announced that a total of 193 Taliban insurgents were killed in various counter-terrorism operations nationwide.

The top US military commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Scott Miller, resigned from his post on Monday as more than 95% of the American troops have left the war-ravaged country after two decades of engagement.

With US forces ahead of schedule on their withdrawal from Afghanistan by September, Bagram Airfield, the biggest US military station in the country, was transferred to Afghan forces earlier this month.

Since US President Joe Biden announced an exit plan from Afghanistan in May, the Taliban have captured over 150 districts in the war-weary country.

Afghan forces, on the other hand, have claimed to kill around 200 insurgents in counter-terrorism offensives on a daily basis.

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