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Afghans May Back Taliban, General Warns
Cat : Afghanistan
Date : 2006-10-09 17:18:53                      Reader : 291
war as civilians are targeted intentionally or not. The result is the same. So if the situation continues, the majority will join resistance not only with Taliban ,but also other factions who fought against USSR.

 

USA TODAY 9/10/2006

Afghans May Back Taliban, General Warns

By FISNIK ABRASHI

KABUL, Afghanistan Oct 8, 2006 (AP)— NATO's top commander in Afghanistan warned on Sunday that a majority of Afghans would likely switch their allegiance to resurgent Taliban militants if their lives show no visible improvements in the next six months.

Gen. David Richards, a British officer who commands NATO's 32,000 troops here, told The Associated Press that he would like to have about 2,500 additional troops to form a reserve battalion to help speed up reconstruction and development efforts.

He said the south of the country, where NATO troops have fought their most intense battles this year, has been "broadly stabilized," which gives the alliance an opportunity to launch projects there. If it doesn't, he estimates about 70 percent of Afghans could switch their allegiance from NATO to the Taliban.

"They will say, 'We do not want the Taliban but then we would rather have that austere and unpleasant life that that might involve than another five years of fighting,'" Richards said in an interview.

"We have created an opportunity," following the intense fighting that left over 500 militants dead in the southern provinces of Kandahar and Helmand, he said. "If we do not take advantage of this, then you can pour an additional 10,000 troops next year and we would not succeed because we would have lost by then the consent of the people."

NATO extended its security mission last week to all of Afghanistan, taking command of 12,000 U.S. troops in the war-battered country's east. The mission is the biggest ground combat operation in NATO history and gives Richards command of the largest number of U.S. troops under a foreign leader since World War II.

Some 8,000 U.S. troops will continue to function outside NATO, tracking al-Qaida terrorists, helping train Afghan security forces and doing reconstruction work.

Afghanistan is going through its worst bout of violence since the U.S.-led invasion removed the former Taliban regime from power five years ago. The Taliban has made a comeback in the south and east of the country and is seriously threatening Western attempts to stabilize the country after almost three decades of war.



 
 
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