Friday, September 11, 2009

Wire: Taliban Control Spreads in Afghanistan

Off the Wire

Off the Wire:

WASHINGTON, Sept. 11 2009 -- Newswire services this afternoon reported that eight long years after the terror strike on the United States, which prompted an invasion of Afghanistan to oust the Taliban, there are indications that the insurgents are continuing to widen their reach inside the country. Meanwhile, some high-ranking British and American officials are expressing mounting concern about Afghanistan's fraud-tainted election process.

A respected international think tank has released a new map (pdf download) showing, for the first time, the Taliban have a "permanent presence" in 80 percent of Afghanistan, VOA News reported. "Permanent presence" in a province is defined as one or more insurgent attacks -- lethal and non-lethal -- per week.

Alexander Jackson, a policy analyst at the International Council on Security and Development in London, says "We're now seeing Taliban control across the country. And one of the most significant things that we're seeing in this latest map is the increased level of Taliban presence in the north of the country. Provinces such as Kunduz and Balkh, which previously were relatively stable, are now seeing very high levels of Taliban activity."

Jackson says that has resulted in a drastic increase of insurgent attacks against Afghan government, international and civilian targets in those areas.

In the eastern Afghanistan, two ISAF troops were killed today. This year has become the deadliest for the foreign troops in Afghanistan since start of the U.S.-led invasion in 2001.

(Report from newswire sources.)

Download: International Council on Security and Development Afghanistan map (pdf)

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