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Troops-withdrawal debate by West giving Afghan radicals 'smell of victory'

By Abdul Nisar

Kabul, Nov 18 (ANI): As Western nations look for a way out of Afghanistan, the chairman of the country's largest media group has said that the debates over withdrawal of troops are "giving confidence to radicals" who are beginning to "smell victory."

In an interview to the Globe and Mail, Saad Mohseni said, "In four or five to 10 years time what is emerging from the region, whether it's terrorism or whether it's drugs, is going to impact Canadians and Americans. And I think there will be regret as to why the West did not persist."

When asked if it was plausible to fear the return of a late-1990s-style Taliban, the Moby Group's Chairman replied, "I don't know that we can say with a great deal of certainty that there will not be a return to the 1990s."

"Don't forget, they've suffered, so there could be a period where they will avenge all sorts of things. I don't think that they will compromise on issues such as the education of women. This ideological movement will believe that they have emerged as victors against U.S. or international colonialism. They will have been emboldened and will try to spread that message through the region," he added.

On being pointed out that it was often easier to get a quote from a Taliban spokesman than the Afghan government or Western militaries in Kandahar, and whether this implied that NATO had already lost the information war, Mohseni said, "You're dealing with an enemy that's very nimble and very quick, especially on the communications side, and a coalition that's very large, very bureaucratic and very slow to move. The Taliban don't have the hierarchy, it's just one person deciding what they will say. And they can say it very quickly."

"The other thing is that mistakes have been made. Civilian deaths, for example. In the early days, the Americans in particular were very defensive. It was like haggling in a bazaar.

The Afghan government would say there were 50 victims and the Americans would say no one died. And the Afghan government would say 60 and the Americans would say three. And then they would agree on 45. I think [ousted U.S. general Stanley] McChrystal was smart in that he took charge of that very, very quickly and things have improved a little bit," he added. (ANI)

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