Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Taliban "poised to retake Afghanistan"

The U.S. military said in a secret report that the Taliban, backed by Pakistan, are set to retake control of Afghanistan after NATO-led forces withdraw, raising the prospect of a major failure of Western policy after a costly war.

Lieutenant Colonel Jimmie Cummings, a spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, confirmed the existence of the document, reported on Wednesday by Britain's Times newspaper and the BBC.

But he said it was not a strategic study.

"The classified document in question is a compilation of Taliban detainee opinions," he said. "It's not an analysis, nor is it meant to be considered an analysis."

Nevertheless, it could be interpreted as a damning assessment of the war, dragging into its 11th year and aimed at blocking a Taliban return to power.

It could also be seen as an admission of defeat and could reinforce the view of Taliban hardliners that they should not negotiate with the United States and President Hamid Karzai's unpopular government while in a position of strength.

The U.S. military report could boost the Taliban's confidence and make its leaders less willing to make concessions on demands for a ceasefire, and for the insurgency to renounce violence and break ties to al Qaeda. Read More