More than half of Afghanistan 'under Taliban' – Senlis Council

Written by  //  November 22, 2007  //  Middle East & Arab World, Terrorism  //  No comments

21 November 2007
Six years ago coalition forces headed into Afghanistan to eradicate the Taliban. Now an international think tank says more than half of the country is under the Taliban’s thumb. Meanwhile, an Oxfam report sharply criticized US-led development efforts in the region.
In war-torn Afghanistan, the Taliban is gaining ground again as it continues its insurgency. A report released Wednesday by the Senlis Council, an international security and development policy think tank, concludes that more than half the entire country is now under Taliban control.
“The Taliban’s ability to establish a presence throughout the country is now proven beyond doubt,” the report says, adding that “54 percent of Afghanistan’s landmass hosts a permanent Taliban presence, primarily in southern Afghanistan, and is subject to frequent hostile activity by the insurgency.”
The report, entitled “Stumbling into Chaos: Afghanistan on the Brink,” is not merely a litany of depressing statistics. It also offers ideas to halt the spread of Taliban influence including a troop “surge.” NATO forces, for example, should be doubled from 40,000 to 80,000 “as soon as logistically possible.” It also recommends that all present caveats constraining troop deployment be removed and that Muslim countries should supply an additional 9,000 troops to supplement Western forces. And military efforts against the Taliban should extend their reach into Pakistan, with that country’s permission.
… Some members of NATO’s coalition forces disagree with the assessment set forth by the Senlis Council. Canada’s Defense Minister Peter Mackay told reporters on Wednesday that the report was simply “not credible.” More from Spiegel online

It is interesting to contrast the above report with the emphasis of the advisory received from RCI:

OTTAWA: DEVELOPMENT GROUP ADVISES WARLIKE MEASURES IN AFGHANISTAN
The Senlis Council, a European-based research which specializes in aid and development issues, has suggested that NATO broaden its war in southern Afghanistan. The researchers suggest NATO double its numbers of troops in Afghanistan to 80,000 and that it attack Taliban camps in northern Pakistan. The agency’s manager in Canada, Almas Bawar Zakhilwal, says NATO should look to Muslim nations for additional troops to counter Taliban propaganda that Western countries are occupying Afghanistan but that Canada and other NATO states should contribute reinforcements. Mr. Zakhilwal recommends that NATO offer to help Pakistan control its borders, and that if the aid is rejected, to attack rebel strongholds there. The Senlis Council’s general approach to political problems is progress through development but Mr. Zakhilwal says the security situation in Afghanistan has degenerated to such a point that Kabul itself could soon be in danger.

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