Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

American general on Taliban in Afghanistan: 'They'll continue to show up'

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
May 30th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Many have claimed that the U.S. mission in Afghanistan is hazily defined. First and foremost, the intent there is to drive the terrorist forces of the Taliban out of that part of the world. Now, Major General Lee Miller, the commander of NATO-led forces in southwestern Afghanistan says that's simply not possible. "If we think the Taliban will be completely destroyed, that's not feasible. They'll continue to show up," Miller told reporters at the Pentagon during a briefing.
 

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Taliban in Afghanistan will never be completely defeated and this year's fighting season is still "up for grabs," Miller said.

"The key is to get the Afghan national security forces to the level where they can maintain security for the populace of Afghanistan," he added.

Afghan forces have made significant progress in their ability to defend against Taliban attacks, Miller said. He later pointed out to the growing success in an ongoing battle in Sangin, in Helmand Province.

The province is a known hotbed for insurgents. The fighting, which began May 25, should be over very shortly, he predicted.

"The fighting season is still up in the air and up for grabs," Miller warned.

With international combat troops preparing to withdraw by the end of 2014, Afghan forces are taking on new levels of responsibility during the warm weather months when the majority of the battle occurs.

Sangin shows that Afghans are ready for the challenge, Miller said. To date, the Afghans have only asked for airlift and logistical support, and have even turned down NATO offers for more aid.

Miller said the number of Taliban who attacked Sangin was only around 150, but a U.S. military official estimated the number was more than 200.

Those figures include some foreign fighters, Miller said, but when asked of their nationality he said only, "at this time, I'd prefer not to answer that."

More than 20,000 Marines were sent into Helmand in 2010 to combat the Taliban. The operation was described as some of the bloodiest fighting in the 12-year war. It was one of the most dangerous places on earth and the marines sustained heavy casualties over several months of fighting.

Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)