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The Taliban Gets Closer to Kabul

SPIEGEL ONLINE

December 5, 2006

A report from the German military, the Bundeswehr, warns that the Taliban is approaching Kabul and that attacks on the capital city are likely to increase. Security in nearby districts is already deteriorating.

The regeneration of the Taliban -- which has retaken control of parts of southern Afghanistan -- is no longer fresh news to anyone. But are the insurgent forces preparing to launch a series of attacks on the capital city of Kabul, which is home to peacekeeping troops, the Afghan government and non-government organizations that are helping to rebuild the war-torn country?

The leadership of Germany's military, the Bundeswehr, fear that Taliban attacks on the Afganistan capital of Kabul will likely increase in the coming months. According to a classified report on the state of Afghanistan obtained by SPIEGEL, "militant opposition forces" have made it clear that they will focus fighting during the winter "on the country's largest cities."

The security situation has already "visibly deteriorated" in two districts located just 10 kilometers from Kabul's city limits -- to the point that Afghan security forces don't even dare to patrol the streets at night. The report warned that Taliban fighters could use the district as "gateways" to Kabul and also as place where they could stage future attacks.

According to the report, Taliban fighters are smuggled into the districts in small "groups of up to eight men," and they often blend in with the population by staying in the homes of local residents for several days at a time.

In a separate development, NATO troops fired on civilians after a suicide car bomb exploded next to their convoy on Sunday. The suicide blast in Kandahar, southern Afghanistan, killed two civilians and injured ten outhers, including three British soldiers. NATO spokesman Maj. Luke Knittig said that as the patrol was driving away from the scene they saw a car they feared might contain a second suicide bomber. At least one civilian was killed and nine were injured during the ensuing shooting.

dsl/spiegel/AP



:: Article nr. 28786 sent on 06-dec-2006 02:10 ECT

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Link: www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/0,1518,452290,00.html



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