Taliban strength increased by 20-30 percent over past year, says top US General

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Washington, Oct 17 : The Taliban's strength has increased by up to 20-30 percent over the past year, and they were better armed and organized doing complex activities.

"I'm telling you that the enemy did increase from 20 to 30 percent this last year....I'll tell you that they are doing more complex activities which concerns me greatly," says Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Schlosser, a top general in-charge of US ground troops in Afghanistan.

In a TV interview to be telecast this Sunday, he said keeping in mind the increased strength of the "enemy", he had sought reinforcements to fight them out.

According to a report in cbs.com, evidence of that increase (in numbers of Taliban) was apparent on a base in eastern Afghanistan, near the Pakistan border, which was hit with rockets and mortars at least 30 times since March, when the current detachment of soldiers arrived.

The enemy came much closer, engaging the troops in a firefight near the base that was captured on video, added the report.

These soldiers had not come this close to their enemy in Afghanistan before - close enough to lob hand grenades. Staff Sgt. Jake Schlereth had to crawl into a cornfield in pursuit. "You couldn't see [the enemy]...and...I had to get down on the ground and look and see if they were down there...you knew they were in there," he tells the correspondent who filed the report.

At least 12 enemy fighters were killed in the skirmish and one US soldier was wounded. The soldiers found a camera left behind by the enemy that contained images of at least 50 heavily armed fighters, showing details of their training and actual attacks. It also showed enemy surveillance of US soldiers on patrol.

Capt Thomas Kilbride, who leads such patrols, said: "This is showing a [U.S.] unit driving. I don't know if this is us or not."

He replied in the affirmative when asked if he though he and his men were being watched every time they go on patrol.

According to the report, the images on the camera prove the Taliban was better armed and organized.

ANI

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