Taliban claim French bribery ploy

Taliban commander says French troops are seeking to pay his forces not to attack them.

    Watch the interview with Saif-Allah Jalili and the report on the Taliban's claim of French bribery in Afghanistan

    The French military has strongly denied the reports of bribery.

    'Peace not bought'

    Admiral Jean-Christophe Prazuck, spokeperson of the the French military, told Al Jazeera: "These allegations are completely false and unfounded, there has never been any deal with the Taliban nor any attempt of corruption to buy peace in Afghanistan."

    The Nato-led International Security Assistance Force [Isaf] has also denied Jalili's claims, saying they are Taliban propaganda.

    In his interview, Jalili also claimed that local groups being armed by Western forces to confront his fighters were in fact handing over the weapons to the Taliban.

    "There are many groups that work for the Taliban and also receive weapons from the foreign troops through the government," he said.

    "They are supposed to fight us, but these groups fulfil their promise of loyalty by bringing the weapons to the Taliban," he said.

    Clandestine payments

    The Taliban claim comes only a month after Italian troops in the same area were accused of paying off Taliban fighters to keep the area calm.

    Despite Italian denials, there were suggestions that French troops deployed in the region had no knowledge of the clandestine arrangement and an attack last year on them that resulted in the deaths of 10 French soldiers was directly because the payments had been discontinued.

    The country is experiencing a recent peak in violence following the 2001 invasion and extra soldiers are said to be needed to battle opposition fighters and train local security personnel.

    Barack Obama, the US president, is due to announce on Tuesday his decision on requests from his senior commanders for up to 40,000 more troops to be sent to Afghanistan.

    The United States and Nato have more than 100,000 troops deployed in the country.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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