Join reconciliation process, Gen. Campbell tells Taliban
But Gen. John Campbell, confirming his retirement at the end of his 18-month assignment in the war-torn country, hoped Afghan security forces would be able to beat back the Taliban offensive.
Addressing his last media briefing in Kabul, the Resolute Support commander asked the rebels to join the reconciliation process if they wanted to have a role in the Afghanistan’s future.
"The Taliban, not Daesh, pose the main danger to the (Afghan) government," remarked the four-star general, who is going to to be replaced in early March by Lt. Gen. John Nicholson.
While urging the Taliban to join peace talks with the government, Campbell said the rebel movement was facing serious problems, "Money issues, leadership issues, huge casualties. They’re also tired after 15 years of war."
Any political settlement could be put in danger by difference and factionalism within the Taliban, he admitted, referring to disputes over Mullah Akhtar Mansoor’s leadership. “I’m not sure who was in charge.”
The US had significantly stepped up air raids against Daesh fighters in Afghanistan, he said, adding the group had a tenuous presence in the landlocked country. "Last year, Daesh was nascent, this year it’s operationally emergent."
He confirmed US special forces’ units -- assisting their Afghan partners -- had been involved in fighting against the militants in the southern province of Helmand, where 500 additional American soldiers had been sent.
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