Insurgent activity to decline: New US envoy
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): Joining senators in expressing concern over the recent increase in terrorist attacks, the US ambassadorial nominee to Afghanistan told lawmakers that insurgent activities inside the country this year would be at a lower level than that of the previous year.
“As you look at the year as a whole, insurgent activity inside of the country looks like it will be at or lower than the levels of 2013 and in the context of the Afghan security forces carrying out 99 percent of operations inside the country,” Peter McKinley, who has been nominated as US ambassador to Afghanistan, said during his confirmation hearing.
“There's a cyclical approach to the tactics the insurgency employs inside the country. And we've been here before. There have been upticks in urban violence and terrorism targeting civilians at different stages over the last 13 years. Over the last few weeks but certainly throughout this year, there has been emphasis on attacking urban centers. The Taliban sought to thwart the elections, which took place this year. And they are also trying to challenge the relationship that Afghanistan will have with the international community going forward,” he said.
Chairing the confirmation hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Tim Kaine, said a recent spike in Taliban attacks, especially in Kabul and elsewhere in the country, raise concerns.
“We'll talk about those. I very much support the decisions announced recently by the administration to broaden the authorities available to the U.S. military forces that remain in Afghanistan beginning in January of 2015. I think that was important and smart and certainly resonates with what folks in Afghanistan mentioned when we were there,” he said.
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