The "new" Taliban
The situation is troubling, but not quite alarming. It could, however, become alarming. Our woeful policies in Iraq and throughout the region have lead to an erosion of political support in our allies, such as Canada and Britain.
The Times of London:
The Times of London:
Top Nato officers were meeting today in a desperate search for reinforcements to combat the Taleban insurgency after a stark warning from Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State, that Afghanistan would "come back to haunt us" if it were abandoned by the West once again.The Christian Science Monitor:
KABUL, AFGHANISTAN – Even in near-total darkness, the wounded Taliban fighter insists on masking his identity, his head and face covered by a tightly wound white cloth. Only two bright eyes and a confident voice tell how Afghanistan's Islamist militants are ramping up their fight against US and NATO forces.BBC News:
He speaks a warning, of how the "new" Taliban has become more radical, more sophisticated, and more brutal than the Taliban ousted by US-led forces in 2001 - and of how its jihadist agenda now mirrors that of Al Qaeda, stretching far beyond Afghanistan.
Among the keys to the Taliban resurgence - which is sparking lethal violence on a scale unknown here for almost five years - are crucial lessons drawn from Iraq.
"That's part of our strategy - we are trying to bring [the Iraqi model] to Afghanistan," says the fighter. "Things will get worse here."
UK Prime Minister Tony Blair said it was of "fundamental importance" to security that the "the job in Afghanistan is done properly".The Guardian:
"We should never forget that the reason why our troops are in Afghanistan, along with other Nato countries, is because out of Afghanistan came the terrorism of 9/11," he said.
Germany has thousands of troops in northern Afghanistan but its rules prevent soldiers from moving south.
"An Afghanistan that does not complete its democratic evolution and become a stable, terror-fighting state is going to come back to haunt us," she said at a news conference with the Canadian foreign minister, Peter MacKay.
"It will come back to haunt our successors and their successors."
Nato governments are meeting in Belgium today to address shortfalls in troop levels in Afghanistan.
The force is currently running at 85% of capacity, and military chiefs have called for more soldiers to tackle an insurgency in the southern provinces of Helmand and Kandahar.