source: The Age
General admits Taliban revival
Ann Scott Tyson, Washington
June 16, 2008
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THE outgoing top US military commander in Afghanistan has described the Taliban as "resurgent" after a week when 890 prisoners — including nearly 400 Taliban fighters — were freed in a jailbreak in Kandahar.
In the worst single attack on coalition forces in Afghanistan this year, four US marines were killed by a roadside bomb on Saturday. A fifth marine was wounded in the attack.
In a sober assessment, General Dan McNeill, who departed on June 3 after 16 months commanding NATO's International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF, said although record levels of foreign and Afghan troops had constrained repeated Taliban offensives, stabilising Afghanistan would be impossible without a more robust military campaign against insurgent havens in Pakistan.
The Taliban were "resurgent in the region", particularly in sanctuaries in Pakistan, and as a result "it's going to be difficult to take on this insurgent group … in the broader sort of way", General McNeill said at a Pentagon news conference.
Comprehensive data released by the NATO-led command shows a steady escalation in violence since NATO took charge of the Afghanistan mission in 2006, spurred in part by more aggressive operations by the alliance and most recently by US Marine battalions in the heavily contested southern province of Helmand.
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Sunday, June 15, 2008
source: The Age