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19 September 2017 13:49 (South Africa)

Afghan official says thousands bolster Taliban – send for the Lone Ranger

Afghanistan’s defence minister said thousands of foreign fighters had entered his country to support the Taliban insurgency. And has, in turn, called for more international troops to support his government’s fight against the insurgents. The Afghan government has become worried about America’s commitment to them, given the backdrop of the US debate over whether to increase its forces in Afghanistan or focus on al-Qaeda in Pakistan’s border regions. “The enemy has changed. Their number has increased,” defence minister Abdul Rahim Wardak said. He said about 4,000 fighters, mostly from Chechnya, North Africa and Pakistan, “have joined with them (the Taliban) and they are involved in the fighting in Afghanistan.” US military officials could not immediately comment on the claims. Meanwhile, the Afghan interior minister publicly endorsed the US commander, General Stanley McChrystal’s proposed strategy of civilian population protection, not just fighting insurgents. This has been complicated by the still-unresolved Afghan presidential election.

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