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Cairo Date: 9/19/2013
Kabul Time: 12:24 PM Cairo Time: 9:54 AM
US general: Taliban likely to be long-term threat-AP
US general: Taliban likely to be long-term threat-AP
08 April 2013
BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (AP) -- The United States accepts that a diminished but resilient
Taliban is likely to remain a military threat in some parts of Afghanistan long after U.S. troops complete
their combat mission next year, the top U.S. military officer says.
In an Associated Press interview at this air field north of Kabul, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman
of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Sunday he is cautiously optimistic that the Afghan army will hold its
own against the insurgency as Western troops pull back and Afghans assume the lead combat role. He
said that by May or June, the Afghans will be in the lead throughout the country.
Asked whether some parts of the country will remain contested by the Taliban, he replied, "Yes, of
course there will be."
"And if we were having this conversation 10 years from now, I suspect there would (still) be contested
areas because the history of Afghanistan suggests that there will always be contested areas," he said.
He and other U.S. commanders have said that ultimately the Afghans must reach some sort of political
accommodation with the insurgents, and that a reconciliation process needs to be led by Afghans, not
Americans. Thus the No. 1 priority for the U.S. military in its final months of combat in Afghanistan is
to do all that is possible to boost the strength and confidence of Afghan forces.
Shortly after Dempsey arrived in Afghanistan on Saturday, the Taliban demonstrated its ability to strike.
It claimed responsibility for a suicide car bombing that killed five Americans - three soldiers and two
civilians, including Anne Smedinghoff, a foreign service officer and the first American diplomat killed
overseas since the terrorist attack Sept. 11 in Benghazi, Libya.
A fierce battle between U.S.-backed Afghan forces and Taliban militants in a remote corner of eastern
Afghanistan left nearly 20 people dead, including 11 Afghan children killed in an airstrike, Afghan
officials said Sunday.
There are now about 66,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. That number is to drop to about 32,000 by
February 2014, and the combat mission is to end in December 2014. Whether some number - perhaps
9,000 or 10,000 - remain into 2015 as military trainers and counterinsurgents is yet to be decided.
Dempsey spent two days talking to senior Afghan officials, including his counterpart, Gen. Sher
Mohammad Karimi, as well as top U.S. and allied commanders.
He also visited a U.S. base in the volatile eastern province of Paktika for an update on how U.S. troops
are balancing the twin missions of advising Afghan forces and withdrawing tons of U.S. equipment as
the war effort winds down.
OPS Media Monitoring Bulletin Hottest News and Political Issues
Page 5 of 43
Paktika is an example of a sector of Afghanistan that is likely to face Taliban resistance for years to
Bordering areas of Pakistan that provide haven for the Taliban and its affiliated Haqqani network,
Paktika has been among the more important insurgent avenues into the Afghan interior.
While the province has a functioning government, Taliban influence remains significant in less
populated areas, as it has since U.S. forces first invaded the country more than 11 years ago.
"There will be contested areas, and it will be the Afghans' choice whether to allow those contested areas
to persist, or, when necessary, take action to exert themselves into those contested area," he said.
Dempsey said he is encouraged by the recent development of coordination centers, including one in
Paktika, where a wide range of Afghan government agencies work together on security issues. He called
it a "quilt" of government structures that links Kabul, the capital, to ordinary Afghans in distant villages.
In some parts of the country, Afghan villagers have shown their dissatisfaction with Taliban influence
by taking up arms against the insurgents, even without being pushed by the U.S. or by Kabul. This has
happened in recent weeks in the Panjwai district of Kandahar province, a traditional stronghold of the
Taliban. The Andar district of Ghazni province has seen a similar uprising.
"We should encourage it, but we shouldn't be seen as hijacking" these local movements, he said.
Dempsey said he discussed the uprisings with Karimi, the army chief, and the Afghan defense minister,
Bismullah Khan Mohammadi. They told him they "appreciated that they should allow this to occur (and)
they should probably nurture it. They don't necessarily feel at this point as if they should tangibly
support it."
The Afghan government's concern, Dempsey said, is that influential warlords could embrace these local
movements and eventually leverage them to threaten the armed forces of the central government.
In a separate interview Sunday with al-Hurra, the Arabic-language satellite TV channel funded by the
U.S. government, Dempsey was asked whether he worries that Syria, in the midst of a civil war, could
become another Afghanistan.
"I do. I have grave concerns that Syria could become an extended conflict" that drags on for many years,
he said.

kabul Afghanistan
kabul Afghanistan
Mr FAZLURRAHMAN FAZIL Ambassador of The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in Cairo
Mr FAZLURRAHMAN FAZIL Ambassador of The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in Cairo
Mr FAZLURRAHMAN FAZIL Ambassador of The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in Cairo