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Reluctant Pak, resilient Taliban scuppering US-led NATO military campaign in Afghanistan

By Samyuktha

Washington, Oct. 27 (ANI): Given Pakistan's long-standing connections to the Haqqani network and the Taliban in Afghanistan, the United States-led NATO forces in that country have been unable topple the insurgents, who have become increasingly resilient.

According to the Washington Post, Islamabad is unlikely to move against these groups, if its timetable is anything to go by.

Though the joint CIA-military efforts have scrambled insurgent networks, causing senior operatives to move more frequently and become more preoccupied with security, there is a view in the Obama administration that the impact on the Taliban's highest ranks has been limited.

"For senior leadership, not much has changed. At most, we are seeing lines of support disrupted, but it's temporary. They're still setting strategic guidance" for operations against coalition forces in Afghanistan, an official was quoted, as saying on condition of anonymity.

"The enemy's tactics have shifted - to include intimidation and assassination," a U.S. intelligence official said.

The defense official said that as many as 100 Afghan government representatives in and around Kandahar are being targeted for assassination by the Taliban, according to U.S. military intelligence estimates.

"The insurgency seems to be maintaining its resilience," said a senior Defense Department official involved in assessments of the war.

Taliban elements have consistently shown an ability to "reestablish and rejuvenate," often within days of routed by U.S. forces, the official said, adding that if there is a sign that momentum has shifted, "I don't see it."

One of the military objectives in targeting mid-level commanders is to compel the Taliban to pursue peace talks with the Afghan government, a nascent effort that NATO officials have helped to facilitate.

The blunt intelligence assessments are consistent across the main spy agencies responsible for analyzing the conflict, including the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency, and come at a critical juncture.

Officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

The Obama administration's plan to conduct a strategic review of the war in December has touched off maneuvering between U.S. military leaders seeking support for extending the American troop buildup and skeptics looking for arguments to wind down the nation's role. (ANI)

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