Leaked Secret Report On Taliban Raising Concerns - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Leaked Secret Report On Taliban Raising Concerns

KABUL, Feb 1 (Reuters) - The U.S. military said in a secret report the Taliban, backed by Pakistan, are set to retake control of Afghanistan after NATO-led forces withdraw from the country, raising the prospect of a major failure of western policy after a costly war.

Lieutenant Colonel Jimmie Cummings, a spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, confirmed the existence of the document, reported by Britain's Times newspaper and the BBC. But he said it was not a strategic study.

"The classified document in question is a compilation of Taliban detainee opinions," he said. "It's not an analysis, nor is it meant to be considered an analysis."

Nevertheless, it could be interpreted as a damning assessment of the war, now dragging into its eleventh year and aimed at blocking a Taliban return to power.

It could also be seen as an admission of defeat and could reinforce the view of Taliban hardliners that they should not negotiate with the United States and President Hamid Karzai's unpopular government while in a position of strength.


The U.S. military said in the document Pakistan's powerful Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) security agency was assisting the Taliban in directing attacks against foreign forces.

The allegation drew a strong response from Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdul Basit. "This is frivolous, to put it mildly," he told Reuters. "We are committed to non-interference in Afghanistan."

The Times said the "highly classified" report was put together by the U.S. military at Bagram air base in Afghanistan for top NATO officers last month.

Large swathes of Afghanistan have been handed back to Afghan security forces, with the last foreign combat troops due to leave by the end of 2014.

But many Afghans doubt their security forces will be able to take firm control of one of the world's most volatile countries once foreign combat troops leave.

The document may leave some policy makers in Washington wondering whether the war was worth the steep cost in human lives and funding.

As of late January, 1,889 U.S. soldiers had been killed in Afghanistan in a conflict launched after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that has drained almost half a trillion dollars from U.S. coffers.

"The unfortunate reality is that this is a failure of the allied strategy in Afghanistan. They have not been able to achieve the goals they set out to achieve," said Mahmud Durrani, a former Pakistan army general and ambassador to Washington. click here to read the full story

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