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Nicholson sees signs of disagreements within Taliban

Nicholson sees signs of disagreements within Taliban

Nov 21, 2017 - 13:18

WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): The commander of US and NATOinfo-icon forces in Afghanistaninfo-icon, General John Nicholson, sees signs of friction and disagreements within Talibaninfo-icon.

“In 2017, the Taliban failed to meet any of their military objectives. They failed to take any cities, as they've attempted for the last two years. They suffered a significant amount of casualties from the Afghan-led offensive operations.

“And we are seeing signs of friction and disagreement within the Taliban leadership ranks,” Nicholson told Pentagon reporters during a video conference call from Kabulinfo-icon.

He said the Taliban knew they could not win in the face of growing capabilities of Afghan security forces. The rebels had decided to stop attacking cities, trying to seize and hold terrain, he claimed.

The insurgents had resorted to suicide attacks and attempts to inflict casualties to prove their relevance, Nicholson said.

“And this is a step back in terms of enemy tactics to a guerrilla warfare type of strategy, from one where they attempt to seize and hold terrain,” the commander remarked. 

The Taliban, he said, were interested in making money and to some extent they had evolved into a narco-insurgency. The profits from narcotics now exceed their operating expenses.

“And we find that the leadership of the Taliban fight over the money, and it's often divided along tribal lines,” he added.  “Our message to the enemy is that you cannot win the war.

“It's time to lay down your arms and enter into a reconciliation process. And if they don't, they're going to be consigned to irrelevance, as the Afghans expand their control of the country, or death,” Nicholson said.

The Afghan government is expanding its control through offensive operations and brings those areas back under control, according to the general.

“Then we expect to see those areas under cultivation, when the farmers have a choice and they don't necessarily -- they aren't forced to be growing poppy -- we believe the government, in those areas has been pushing agricultureinfo-icon,” he said.

“Why is this new? Because the markets in India are being opened up to Afghan-listed agriculture, as you've heard President Ghani talk about the air bridge to India and the export of agricultural products to India is a major push,” he concluded.

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