Afghanistan rejects report on Taliban tightening grip

December 9th, 2008 - 4:18 pm ICT by IANS  

TalibanKabul, Dec 9 (Xinhua) Afghanistan Tuesday rejected an intelligence report by the International Council on Security and Development (ICOS) that the Taliban now hold a permanent presence in 72 percent of the war-ravaged country. Afghanistan “strongly rejects the assertion by the ICOS on the extent of Taliban’s presence across Afghanistan”, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

“In addition to the questionable methodology of the report and its conceptual confusion, the report has misinterpreted the sporadic, terrorising and media-oriented activities of the Taliban,” the ministry said.

ICOS, an independent think-tank and research organisation based in Brazil, said in a report Monday that the Taliban’s permanent presence in Afghanistan has grown up to 72 percent from 54 percent a year ago.

The think-tank also claimed the Taliban was closing in on the capital Kabul, with three of the four main routes out of the city considered unsafe for travel.

Criminality was skyrocketing in the city as a result of Taliban activity, the report said.

However, the foreign ministry called the ICOS report baseless and quoted the recent finding by the UN Security Council delegation that said, “Afghanistan is faced with a difficult security situation, but not a security crisis”.

It added that “the difficulties are confined to a small number of districts mainly in the South and East of the Country alongside our frontier with Pakistan.”

The successful completion of the second phase of voter registration “is another testimony to both the growing capability of the Afghan National Security Forces and the determination of Afghan people to successfully complete our arduous transitional journey” to join the club of progressive and democratic nations, the statement said.

According to the government, more than two and half million Afghans have been registered in the voters list prepared recently.

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