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Military pressures throw Taliban to the curb: Nicholson

AT-KABUL: Because of constant military counterterrorism campaigns, Taliban have lost their momentum and retreated from capturing major Afghan cities and focusing their guerilla operations on suicide attacks, General John Nicholson, head of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan said on Tuesday.

The top US defense official said the Taliban leadership in Quetta has decided to shift the group’s focus to mere suicide attacks and mine planting instead of taking over big cities in Afghanistan. This shift in tactic, said Nicholson, is an offshoot of military pressures imposed by the Afghan government and coalition forces on the Taliban.

The defense ministry has however declared that the Taliban had lost their capability to fight Afghan security forces. The ministry’s spokesperson, Mohammad Radmanish has said that it was clear that the Taliban have been defeated in the battleground and have resorted to carrying out suicide missions to prove their existence in the country.

It is their weakness to launch deadly attacks against civilians in the cities to prove presence,” said Javid Faisal, the Chief Executive office’s deputy spokesman.

In another report by Washington Post, former Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansoor reportedly had visited the Gulf emirate for fundraising a few months before his assassination in May 2016, in a U.S. air raid in Pakistan. Confirming the Taliban’s fundraising attempts in some countries in the region, Shah Hussian Murtazawi, the president’s office spokesman said: “Taliban leaders have been active some countries, collecting funds and recruiting fighters.”

The Washington Post report also said that U.S. intelligence officials became aware of Mansoor’s movements in Dubai and discussed what to do about him. Before a decision was made, he left for Iran. From Iran, Mansoor traveled to Pakistan where the Americans were again aware of his whereabouts and killed him in a drone attack.

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