Taliban has turned much of Afghanistan into 'No Go' zone

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Washington, Sep 20 : A resurgent Taliban "has turned much of Afghanistan into 'No Go' zones for aid workers and civilians", according to a new report.

The Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) report says that the security situation in Afghanistan is assessed by most analysts as having deteriorated at a constant rate through 2007.

Statistics show that although the numbers of incidents are higher than comparable periods in 2006, they show the same seasonal pattern.

The nature of the incidents has, however, changed considerably since last year, with high numbers of armed clashes in the field giving way to a combination of armed clashes and asymmetric attacks countrywide.

The Afghan National Police (ANP) has become a primary target of insurgents and intimidation of all kinds has increased against the civilian population, especially those perceived to be in support of the government, international military forces as well as the humanitarian and development community, the report said.

The more significant change in 2007 is the shift from large-scale armed clashes in the field to asymmetric or terror-style attacks. The former do still take place and as air support is often used, casualty figures are still high. On average, however, these clashes are fewer and smaller than in 2006, the Daily Times reported.

Possible reasons include the high numbers of Taliban fighters killed during summer 2007, including many mid-level and senior commanders. Another reason must be the realisation that these types of attacks are futile against a modern conventionally equipped military force supported by a wide range of aircraft.

According to the CSIS report, insurgency within the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) has significantly evolved over 2007, being no longer a traditional rigid structure, operating in a top to bottom order, and more importantly, no longer a Taliban-dominant insurgent network.

Interacting networks including the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin, and Tehrik-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi drive the concept of the insurgency in Afghanistan.

Over 2007, the Taliban leadership in the south has been weakened as a result of the capture or killing of senior Taliban leaders.

While the insurgency in the south remains Taliban-led, the once overarching influence of the Taliban over the insurgency in the east is diminishing. The insurgency in the east has become a conglomerate of disparate insurgent groups, operating independently from the once prevailing influence of the Taliban senior leadership in the south.

The report notes that 2007 has seen an unprecedented number of offensive actions taken by insurgent elements against the Pakistan Government and security forces within FATA and the NWFP.

ANI

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