Thursday, May 04, 2006

Taliban Threat Is Said to Grow in Afghan South

Taliban Threat Is Said to Grow in Afghan South - New York Times:

"Taliban Threat Is Said to Grow in Afghan South
By CARLOTTA GALL

TIRIN KOT, Afghanistan, April 27 — Building on a winter campaign of suicide bombings and assassinations and the knowledge that American troops are leaving, the Taliban appear to be moving their insurgency into a new phase, flooding the rural areas of southern Afghanistan with weapons and men.

Each spring with the arrival of warmer weather, the fighting season here starts up, but the scale of the militants' presence and their sheer brazenness have alarmed Afghans and foreign officials far more than in previous years.

'The Taliban and Al Qaeda are everywhere,' a shopkeeper, Haji Saifullah, told the commander of American forces in Afghanistan, Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry, as the general strolled through the bazaar of this town to talk to people. 'It is all right in the city, but if you go outside the city, they are everywhere, and the people have to support them. They have no choice.'

The fact that American troops are pulling out of southern Afghanistan in the coming months, and handing matters over to NATO peacekeepers, who have repeatedly stated that they are not going to fight terrorists, has given a lift to the insurgents, and increased the fears of Afghans."

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