The Afghan Ministry of Interior (MOI) confirmed reports from US commanders that the Taliban is weaker in southern Afghanistan, pointing out that the Taliban rarely face Afghan security forces in the battlefield.
"The Taliban have lost their power in southern Afghanistan - they are unable to face Afghan security forces," MOI spokesman Sediq Sediqqi told TOLOnews Thursday.
"But they have caused serious problems by planting IEDs," he added, referring to the improvised explosive devices the insurgents use and set up along roads to target security forces. The indiscriminate bombs frequently kill and maim civilians.
Sediqqi's comments come as US commanders told TV network USA TODAY that the US "surge" Marines and other Nato forces in southwestern Afghanistan have broken the Taliban's grip on their former stronghold.
The Taliban's losses in Afghanistan's south has paved the way for a smooth security transition to the Afghan security forces, they said.
"It will be a rolling transition to more training and advising and assisting and less of the counterinsurgency operations," Gen. James Amos, commander of the Marine Corps told USA TODAY. "The Afghan security forces will be in the lead and we'll be in support."
The US is half-way through withdrawing 23,000 troops from Afghanistan by the end of September, leaving about 68,000 US troops in Afghanistan before a full withdrawal by the end of 2014.
Obama ordered a troop surge of 33,000 more than two years ago to reverse gains made by the Taliban. Many of those were Marines sent to Helmand province - a former Taliban stronghold and once the most volatile province in Afghanistan.
Today, the Taliban has lost control of most population centers, operating in more remote and rural parts of the provinces. The number of attacks in northern Helmand has declined to 25 to 30 a day from 125 to 130 a year ago, according to commander of Regional Combat Team 6 in Helmand Marine Col. John Shafer in the USA TODAY report.
In terms of IED attacks, from March to July this year in the Helmand region, insurgents detonated 570 roadside bombs, down from 761 last year.