Taliban warns US over Afghan plan

Group says sending additional US troops to Afghanistan will lead to more bloodshed.

    Rasul was formerly the governor of Nimruz
    province under the Taliban

    "Every year our military power gets stronger and stronger and our forces are getting bigger and bigger and we are heading towards success," Rasul said.

    Obama campaigned for the US presidency on a promise to redeploy US troops and resources to Afghanistan from Iraq.

    The US has 36,000 troops in Afghanistan and the White House is expected to announce up to three new brigade-size deployments as early as next week to help meet a long-standing request for additional forces from field commanders.

    The plan would mean sending as many as 30,000 extra troops in the next 12 to 18 months.

    New strategy

    Oxfam, the international aid agency, has urged Obama to look beyond purely military solutions for Afghanistan, calling on the president to develop a new plan for US operations in the country.

    "With spreading insecurity and civilians facing critical needs, there must be a comprehensive new strategy which will avert a major crisis," Raymond Offenheiser, Oxfam America's president, said.

    The relief group said it had sent a memo to Obama, who took office on January 20, raising its concerns that "events have reached a critical juncture in Afghanistan".

    Oxfam said "conditions could deteriorate further unless the United States takes a lead in addressing failures in governance, aid and reconstruction, and protecting civilians".

    The US is the biggest provider of both money and troops on which the Afghan government depends to fight the Taliban and rebuild the country.

    But security has massively deteriorated following an upsurge in violence.

    Civilian deaths caused by international military operations have also stoked anger among Afghans.

    Oxfam estimates that about 800 civilians died last year in operations carried out by international and Afghan government forces.

    Security force

    Meanwhile, Mohammad Hanif Atmar, Afghanistan's interior minister, announced on Saturday plans to establish a special force to boost security in areas worst hit by Taliban violence.

    The paramilitary-style force, to be funded by the US government, is to operate under the command of the interior ministry, the department responsible for the country's police force.

    "Considering the special situation in the country we've decided to ... create public protection forces with a special security mission within the interior ministry frame," Atmar said.

    Their tasks will include protecting communities, schools, other government installations and highways.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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