April 28, 2009 8:53:21 am
Backed with their safe haven in Pakistan,the drug money and foreign donations,Al Qaeda and the Taliban have been able to demonstrate considerable resilience,a top US General who has been in charge of the region on Tuesday said.
Noting that Afghanistan is stuck in a “downward spiral” that is difficult to pull out of,General David Petraeus,Commander of US Central Command,at a meeting at Kansas University,Manhattan in Kansas,said the insurgency in Afghanistan has expanded its strength and influence.
The levels of violence in some areas in 2008 were double than those in 2007,he said.
“The Taliban,Al Qaeda and associated syndicate of extremists have demonstrated considerable resilience,due in part to the presence of safe havens just across the Afghan border with Pakistan,and in part to the steady flow of revenues from illegal narcotics trafficking and donations from outside Afghanistan,” Petraeus said.
The resurgence of these groups,he said,has also resulted to varying degrees throughout the country from frustration with the slow development of Afghanistan’s fledgling government,whose legitimacy has suffered due to the security situation and inability to provide adequate essential services for the people,and corruption.
Petraeus said fundamental objective in Afghanistan remains to ensure that transnational terrorists are not able to establish the sanctuaries they enjoyed there prior to 9/11.
Accomplishing this aim,though,requires not just killing or capturing terrorists,but also developing Afghan security forces,reducing the drug trade that finances the insurgency,fostering the growth of Afghan governance so that it can achieve legitimacy in the eyes of the people,creating basic economic opportunity for Afghan citizens,he argued.
“The militants and extremists operating,out of Pakistan’s tribal areas,pose a threat to Afghanistan as well as a serious regional and even global threat,” he said.
“Thus,even as we actively pursue militants and seek economic and governance improvements,in Afghanistan,we also have to encourage the Pakistani government to recognize that these militants are the most significant threat to their country’s very existence,” General Petraeus said.
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