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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 November, 2003, 02:19 GMT
US says Taleban still a threat
By Jon Leyne
State Department correspondent

Washington's envoy to Afghanistan has called for new efforts to combat the Taleban and al-Qaeda there.

The call came in Washington from Zalmay Khalilzad, who is about to become US ambassador following his role as the American special envoy in Afghanistan.

It follows concern over a resurgence of the Taleban in the country.

Mr Khalilzad reiterated America's commitment to reconstruction, saying "we will see this one through" and would be "there as long as it takes".

Afghan soldiers
The US wants Afghans to take more action themselves
The comments come at a time of increasing concern over the security situation there.

President Bush was unyieldingly committed, he went on.

But Mr Khalilzad conceded that they needed to find new ways to combat the Taleban and al-Qaeda.

He said the Afghan people needed to be more involved in the battle, particularly in the south and east of the country.

The envoy pointed out that new funds from Congress meant that they would soon increase the number of Afghan soldiers and police being trained.

Members of the Bush administration are worried that the Taleban is winning more support in parts of Afghanistan.

The US strategy is to win more popular support for the government of Hamid Karzai by accelerating the re-building of the country.

But critics wonder whether the Bush administration has simply become too distracted by dealing with the parallel crisis in Iraq.


SEE ALSO:
UN pulls back in east Afghanistan
18 Nov 03  |  South Asia
Taleban retaking land says UN
25 Oct 03  |  South Asia
Security 'key to Afghan recovery'
06 Nov 03  |  South Asia
Country profile: Afghanistan
08 Nov 03  |  Country profiles


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