Pressure Shifts Taliban’s Focus from Taking Over Major Afghan Cities: Nicholson

(Last Updated On: March 26, 2018)

General John Nicholson, head of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan has said the Taliban will no longer fight to capture big cities but instead, the group will concentrate on increasing suicide attacks to show their existence in the country.

Nicholson said that the Taliban leaders in Quetta have decided that the group’s fighters will not focus on taking over big cities in Afghanistan.

According to Nicholson, the Taliban’s change in tactics came as result of pressures imposed by the Afghan government and coalition forces on the group.

Meanwhile, the Afghan Defense Ministry said that the Taliban have longer capable of fighting against the security forces. “It is clear that the Taliban have been defeated in the battleground and now they turned to conducting suicide attacks,” the ministry deputy spokesman, Mohammad Radmanish said.

“It is their weakness to launch deadly attacks against civilians in the cities to prove presence,” said Javid Faisal, the Chief Executive office’s deputy spokesman.

Separately, Washington Post in an investigative report has said that former Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansoor reportedly visited the Gulf emirate for fundraising a few months before his assassination in May 2016, in a U.S. air raid in Pakistan.

Confirming the Taliban’s fundraising attempts in some countries in the region, Shah Hussian Murtazawi, the president’s office spokesman said: “Taliban leaders have been active some countries, collecting funds and recruiting fighters.”

The Washington Post report also said that U.S. intelligence officials became aware of Mansoor’s movements in Dubai and discussed what to do about him. Before a decision was made, he left for Iran. From Iran, Mansoor traveled to Pakistan where the Americans were again aware of his whereabouts and killed him in a drone attack.

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