‘Taliban is now a threat to region’

October 15th, 2008 - 12:13 pm ICT by IANS  

TalibanNew York, Oct 15 (DPA) The Afghan government has told the UN Security Council that the former Taliban rulers have become a threat to the country seven years after they were toppled from power.Taliban and Al Qaeda forces have intensified the fighting at Afghan borders with Pakistan, timing their campaign to presidential elections in the United States this year and presumably in Afghanistan in 2009 “to force a change in international commitment” in Afghanistan, the country’s UN ambassador Zahir Tanin said Tuesday.

The Kabul government had feared that support from the international community would slip because of the growing terror threat in the war-torn country.

Donors have pledged a total of $20 billion in development assistance.

“It is now clear that the Taliban is a regional threat,” Tanin said during a debate by the 15-nation council on the situation in Afghanistan.

Tanin said the Taliban are increasingly inflicting deaths and destruction to the country’s efforts to development.

“We build a school in six months, they burn it down in six minutes,” he said. “The Taliban are in fact responsible for the majority of civilian casualties this year.”

Tanin said the Taliban has shifted its base from Afghanistan to border regions with Pakistan. Tanin said however that the new Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari, unlike his predecessor, is a “friend and trusted leader to address problems of terrorism together.”

Relations between Kabul and Islamabad were unfriendly under former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, who stepped down in July.

US forces hunting down Al Qaeda and Taliban militants have pushed their military operations into Pakistan proper, prompting strong protests by Islamabad. The US has been unsuccessful in trying to capture Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, the mastermind in the 2001 terrorist attacks on the US.

In addition to the 30,000-strong US forces in Afghanistan, thousands of NATO troops are assisting Kabul to maintain security.

German UN Ambassador Thomas Matussek said his government will help Kabul organize elections in 2009 and 2010 and increase its police personnel to train Afghan police.

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