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"Strategic momentum appears to be sort of with the Taliban," general Mark Milley, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, told the journalists.

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Milley said more than 200 of the 419 district centres were under Taliban control. Last month, he had said the Taliban controlled 81 district centres in Afghanistan.

While the insurgent group had not taken over any provincial capitals, they were putting pressure on the outskirts of half of them, he said.

The government has accused the Taliban of destroying hundreds of government buildings in 29 of the country's 34 provinces. The Taliban deny accusations of extensive destruction by their fighters.

Fifteen diplomatic missions and the NATO representative in Afghanistan urged the Taliban on Monday to halt its offensives just hours after the rival Afghan sides failed to agree on a ceasefire at a peace meeting in Doha.

Biden has set a formal end to the US military mission in Afghanistan as he looks to disengage from a conflict that began after al Qaeda's attacks on the US on 11 September, 2001.

Almost all US troops, except those protecting the embassy in Kabul and airport, have left the country.

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