The Taliban on Friday rejected the review of President Barack Obama’s year-old war strategy in Afghanistan, saying that it has failed on both the military and the civil administration fronts.
In an e-mailed statement, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said the last nine years of war had proven that increased troop levels had no effect.
“It is a failed strategy, not only on the military side but also in civilian and administrative affairs. Public services in Afghanistan have failed. Corruption, insecurity and also the civilian casualties are a result of failed American strategy,” Mujahid said.
“President Obama is also talking about progress, but it is clear for everyone that the reality is completely the opposite of what he says,” he added.
The Obama review unveiled on Thursday says Taliban momentum has been halted in many parts of Afghanistan and al-Qaeda leaders who are thought to be plotting further terror attacks from Pakistan against the U.S. have suffered grievous losses. However, it makes clear that further progress will not come easily and indicates that ultimate success depends heavily on factors such as Pakistan’s effectiveness in eliminating al-Qaida and Taliban havens on its side of the border.
This year has been the deadliest in the war for U.S. forces. At least 480 American troops have been killed, compared to 317 last year and 155 in 2008.
The Taliban claimed that Mr. Obama’s aim of starting to withdraw U.S. soldiers from Afghanistan next year is the result not of success, but of “the pressure on the U.S. forces in Afghanistan, the high casualties of the U.S. forces and the high cost of the war ... which they can no longer afford.”
Mujahid vowed the Taliban would continue to fight coalition troops, and that “with the presence of foreign forces in our country there will be no peace and security. The interference of foreign forces in the affairs of Afghanistan ... will only increase casualties.”
Separately, NATO said a Coalition service member was killed on Friday following a bomb attack in southern Afghanistan. It did not provide the nationality of the service member or give the location of the attack.