Taliban Pacts Said to Boost Afghan Violence
ROBERT SMITH, Host:
Tell us more about this spike in violence. What are the NATO commanders saying about it?
IVAN WATSON: And NATO says the only explanation for this jump in Taliban activity is the recent decrease of Pakistani army pressure on the militants on the other side of the border. They're saying that's allowing the insurgents to focus their attention on fighting the Western-backed government here in Afghanistan and the 70,000 foreign troops that are stationed here.
SMITH: What does the Taliban say about these claims?
WATSON: But he then went on to say that, quote, "Islam knows no borders and no frontiers; the jihad in Afghanistan will continue." And he vowed to send more fighters to kick the Americans out of Afghanistan the way the mujahedin forced the Soviet withdrawal from here in 1989.
SMITH: So how bad is the situation today in Afghanistan?
WATSON: The United Nations says some 8,000 people were killed in the fighting in Afghanistan in the last year alone.
SMITH: Well, as things get worse in Afghanistan, is the peace agreement holding on the Pakistan side of the border? Have we seen decreased violence on that side?
WATSON: We have seen sporadic bombs on that side. We have seen suicide bombs within just the last week. And some of these peace agreements have been broken in the past by this Taliban commander I mentioned - Baitullah Mehsud. So one U.S. commander tells me we're just going to have to wait and see what the details of these recent peace agreements between the Pakistani government and the Pakistani Taliban are going to be.
SMITH: NPR's Ivan Watson is in Kabul, Afghanistan. Thanks, Ivan.
WATSON: You're welcome, Robert.
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