Taliban can be defeated in Afghanistan if 'reluctant Pakistan does more': U.S. Senator
Washington, May 14 (ANI): A key U.S. senator has said the Taliban can be defeated militarily in Afghanistan but the job is not done, adding that the insurgents are still controlling more than a third of the populated areas of the country and have "safe havens" in Pakistan.
U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairwoman Senator Dianne Feinstein said Pakistan was key to defeating the Taliban in both countries, and expressed frustration that the country had failed to deprive the Taliban of safe havens in the rugged mountain areas along its Afghan border, reports the Daily Mail.
"Militarily, I think Taliban are not going to beat us," she said. But Taliban "have a safe harbour in Pakistan and the Pakistanis are doing nothing to abate that safe haven", she added.
What "Taliban have done is insinuate themselves in a shadowy presence, with shadow governors", Feinstein said.
"And while we were there in one province, they closed 14 schools in 17 districts and then they killed five education officials and wounded others. And now, there's this latest assassination of someone who's been a leader in the Peace Council," she added.
Gunmen shot dead a top Afghan peace negotiator in Kabul on Sunday, dealing another blow to attempts to negotiate a peace deal with the Taliban.
"What this does is demonstrate to many of us that Taliban are just waiting to come back" when U.S. troops leave the country over the next few years, Feinstein said.
Taliban "are taxing the poppy in the south to the tune of 125 million dollars, which in 2011 - this is the United Nations figure - went to support their operations," she added.
"The question comes 'can they come back?'" said Feinstein, who visited Afghanistan as part of a congressional team last month. She said Afghan president Hamid Karzai had assured her he would not allow Taliban to return to power.
Feinstein said assurances by the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, General John Allen, that the number of trained Afghan troops will reach 362,000 was "very positive". (ANI)
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