Canadian general sees no Taliban resurgence

July 6th, 2008 - 2:48 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Taliban

Toronto, July 6 (IANS) The new Canadian armed forces chief does not agree with the US assessment that the Taliban is regrouping. Gen Walter Natynczyk, who took as the armed forces chief just days ago, said Saturday that increased insurgent activity following a jailbreak that freed hundreds of militants does not mean the Taliban is regaining strength.

Canada, which joined the NATO-led forces in Afghanistan to fight Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in 2002 and was put in charge of the volatile Kandahar region, has suffered 85 casualties so far - the largest since the Korean war.

The Canadian mission in Afghanistan runs till 2011.

Calling the jailbreak just a “setback”, Gen Natynczyk said coalition and Afghan forces were taking the battle back to the Taliban. Following the Kandahar jailbreak, the escaped militants escalated violence by digging themselves in rural areas around the city.

The general said seasonal increase in insurgent activity was expected at this time of the year.

He said Canada was focused on accomplishing its mission Afghanistan before its pullout in three years’ time. Canada and coalition allies would like to see Afghan security forces standing alone and taking responsibility for defending their country against the Taliban, the general said.

Gen Natynczyk said the Afghan forces were now taking the lead, rather than just providing support to coalition forces, in the fight against the Taliban.

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