Taliban under ruthless pressure: British commander
WASHINGTON (PAN): The Taliban in Afghanistan are being kept under “ruthless pressure”, a top British commander based in the country has said, claiming a decline in the number of attacks from the militant group.
“During the early part of this year, we've seen a scale of reduction over last year. So we seem to be hitting the same trend line and further reducing the momentum of the insurgency," he said on Wednesday.
“We keep them under ruthless pressure from framework operations on the ground, ruthlessly going after their commanders and facilitators through Special Forces raids, and they are feeling this pressure,” added British Army Lieutenant General Adrian Bradshaw.
Also the deputy commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), he told a Pentagon news conference: “We get this from the feedback of people who have joined the reintegration process.”
But as long as they operate with relative impunity from sanctuaries outside the country, it was difficult to defeat them militarily, the commander acknowledged. In a counterinsurgency campaign, he observed, there had to be a combination of military, economic, political and other measures to eliminate the threat.
Bradshaw said with the growth in confidence and capability of Afghan national security forces, they had full confidence that by the end of 2014, they would be able to take on a reduced counterinsurgency campaign and execute it with efficiency, and deliver security to major population centres.
“But I would say that the insurgency we wouldn't expect by the end of 2014 to be completely eliminated. Of course, if we make advances in the area of reconciliation, we could see the progress dramatically improve. But, even without that, we're heading in the right direction,” the commander said.
Bradshaw said the campaign was in a good place at the moment. “In 2011 we saw the momentum of the insurgency reversed for the first time in a number of years. Their ability to be able to deliver attacks on the ground was reduced by about 10 percent, which was a significant achievement. All the things that they really wanted to regain ground in Kandahar and Helmand, to get attacks into the capital, to disrupt the major activities of the capital -- all of those things they failed to do.”
The Taliban did manage to bring some trouble to Kabul, but the major events of the year -- the Loya Jirga, the opening of parliament, the opening of the Ghazni Stadium -- were undisrupted, he continued.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.