US predicts intensified fighting in 2011

2011-02-09 14:05

Brussels - The top US and Nato commander in Afghanistan warned that combat will likely escalate during the spring thaw as Taliban insurgents try to return to areas cleared by the international forces during the past several months.

"There's been considerable progress in taking away from the Taliban safe havens," General David Petraeus said in an interview with Nato TV aired on Wednesday.

"They have to fight back, they're losing momentum that's quite clear," he said. "They know they need to regain that momentum."

Last year's surge boosted the international force to about 150 000 troops. Nato and President Hamid Karzai hope to have more than 300 000 Afghan army and police in action by next autumn facing a much smaller organised insurgent force.

The Obama administration and Nato plan to begin reducing their troop contingent in July, and to end its combat role by the end of 2014.

Deadliest year

Last year was the deadliest of the nearly decade-long war for international troops, with more than 700 killed. This compares to about 500 in 2009, previously the worst year of the war. Record numbers of insurgents and civilians also have been killed.

Insurgents killed two Nato service members in southern Afghanistan on Wednesday, bringing to 10 the number who have died so far this month

The conflict usually dies down during the winter, as the guerrillas retreat to their safe havens to rest and recuperate.

Petraeus said intelligence reports indicate that Taliban leaders are worried by the situation and that there is "friction and discord" between the guerrillas in the field and their leadership in Pakistan.

But analysts caution that the Taliban - in keeping with classic guerrilla strategy - have simply fallen back in the face of an overwhelming forces, dispersing into other, safer parts of the country. They are likely to remain on the defensive until Nato forces begin withdrawing in significant numbers.

Decisive point

The US security think tank STRATFOR warned that because "this is a decisive point for the United States and its allies and because there is such immense pressure on commanders to show demonstrable progress, [talk] of progress must be viewed with considerable scepticism."

Petraeus also said he supported efforts by Karzai's government to rein in the nation's private security companies, which provide protection for a wide range of institutions and businesses in Afghanistan.

"In many cases these have become armed groups under the control of power-brokers," Petraeus said.

"They've actually been hijacked by these different powerful individuals as a source of funding, and they enable these individuals to maintain an alternative to the government forces."

US officials say there are up to 40 000 armed security guards working in the country.

Karzai issued a decree in August ordering all such firms to be disbanded by December 17. But a shortage of qualified police led to a deadline extension or exemptions in several cases, such as for companies protecting development and aid projects or diplomatic sites.

- AP

Read more on:    taliban  |  nato  |  david petraeus  |  us  |  afghanistan
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

We will give you police - Zille

A total of 250 000 police on the streets is one of the election promises Helen Zille made during an anti-drugs and gangsterism march in Manenberg, Cape Town.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Huawei B683 21Mbps 3G Wireless Router

Huawei B683 21Mbps 3G Wireless Router The B683 wireless gateway (hereinafter...

From R1671.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Self-indulgence may be strong today. You may want to enjoy yourself to the fullest and share it with those that make you feel...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.