Sir: Apropos to a recent report by the US Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR) the Taliban have strengthened their grip in Afghanistan over the past three years. In its quarterly report for the US Congress, the report notes that Taliban now controls more territory than at any time since 2001. The Afghan government currently controls or influences only 55.5 percent of the country’s districts, marking the lowest level recorded since SIGAR began tracking district control in November 2015. It is important to note that In November 2015, the Afghan government controlled 72 percent of districts in the country, but now controls just 56 percent of them. Insurgent influence or control has risen to 12.5 percent of districts from just seven percent and approximately a third of Afghanistan is a contested area. Peace in Afghanistan and the wider region can only be achieved through a multilateral mechanism involving the US as well as major regional players, including Pakistan, Russia, Iran, China, India and Saudi Arabia. But in the end, it will be the dialogue among Afghans themselves which will determine the political future of their war-torn Afghanistan. AFIA AMBREEN Rawalpindi Published in Daily Times, November 9th 2018.