There may be between 10,000 and 15,000 Taliban fighting inside the country, and the insurgent group is operating in about 17 provinces, Afghanistan's interior minister said.
Mohammad Hanif Atmar offered a rare estimate of the size of his government's most organized and potent opponent during a visit to Washington. A large delegation of senior Afghan officials was in the U.S. capital this week, along with a delegation from Pakistan.
Both groups were weighing in as the new Obama administration forms a new strategy for the war in Afghanistan and a related policy for Pakistan.
Afghan officials said they told their hosts that a new strategy must include better cooperation from Pakistan, where Taliban and other militants have command operations.