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Return of Taliban


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Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice took a quick, four-hour trip yesterday to Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, to show her support for President Hamid Karzai and his government. Outside the "heavily guarded high walls and concrete barriers" that protected Rice on her visit, there is an increasingly dangerous and violent conflict raging, with resurgent Taliban fighters gaining a stronger foothold across the country. In Sept. 2004, President Bush proudly announced, "As a result of the United States military, [the] Taliban is no longer in existence." That claim was premature; the revived Taliban is waging a "full-blown insurgency," something that the White House now claims was "predictable." The former head of the Taliban government, Mullah Omar, remains free and purportedly released an audiotape claiming his fighters still controlled large parts of Afghanistan. "We are not going to tire, we are not going to leave," Rice said yesterday, vowing not to repeat the mistake the United States made in the late 1980s of ignoring Afghanistan and watching the state fall into the hands of the Taliban. But with U.S. military and financial resources overwhelmingly dedicated to the ongoing war in Iraq, Afghanistan -- the "launching pad" for the 9/11 attacks -- continues to receive insufficient resources and support. "I do not see a long-term comprehensive strategy from the administration" on Afghanistan, said Rep. Ike Skelton (D-MO).







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