Taliban chief says victory imminent

Mullah Omar says Nato-led forces are losing the war in Afghanistan and his fighters are close to victory.

    Mullah Omar said the withdrawal of foreign troops would be the "best option for regional stability" [GALLO/GETTY]

    The Afghan Taliban leader has said his fighters were close to victory in driving foreign forces out of the country.

    In a message on Wednesday marking the end of the Muslim fasting month Ramadan, Mullah Omar called on Afghans to redouble their struggle and push for foreign troops to withdraw, saying the Nato-led coalition was losing the war.

    He said victory "over the invading infidels is now imminent" attributing the progress to "belief in the help of Allah and unity among ourselves".

    "Put all your strength and planning behind the task of driving away the invaders and regaining independence of the country," he told Afghan fighters.

    'Complete failure'

    He said "those military experts who have framed strategies of the invasion of Afghanistan or are now engaged in hammering out new strategies, admit themselves that all their strategies are nothing but a complete failure".

    "The expansion, momentum and success of this jihadi resistance ... has now approached close to its destination"

    Mullah Omar, Afghan Taliban leader

    The Taliban leader added that the occupying foreign forces "are now under pressures from their people due to the growing and heavy military expenditures, casualties and the fruitlessness of the war".

    Mullah Omar called on Barack Obama, the US president, to withdraw troops "unconditionally and as soon as possible" saying it is "the best option for regional stability".

    "The expansion, momentum and success of this jihadi resistance ... has now approached close to its destination," Reuters news agency quoted the Taliban leader as saying in an email to media.

    In a section addressing US citizens, he said: "You should know that your rulers have continuously told you lies since the beginning of the aggression on Afghanistan until this very day.

    "They have wasted hundreds of billion(s) of dollars of your tax money in the shape of financial expenditures and your manpower in Afghanistan and have still been wasting them. You shall be witness to another economic melt-down."

    Afghan strategy

    Mullah Omar was one of the leaders of the Taliban that ruled Afghanistan with an iron fist from 1996 to the end of 2001.

    He has been underground since the movement was driven out of power by the US invasion.

    The Nato-led mission in Afghanistan has swelled to 150,000 soldiers as part of a concerted strategy to defeat the Taliban.

    Last month, General David Petraeus, the commander of US and Nato forces in Afghanistan, said he saw "areas of progress" in the war and that momentum by fighters had been checked in their strongholds in Kandahar and Helmand.

    Violence in Afghanistan is at its worst since Mullah Omar and his movement were overthrown in late 2001, with a record number of foreign troop casualties and soaring civilian deaths.

    Obama ordered in a further 30,000 US troops to Afghanistan last December following a review of the war and the last of those troops have now arrived.

    The US has also said it will begin drawing down troops from July next year, a move many say has emboldened the Taliban.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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