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US Secretary of State Reaffirms Commitment to Afghanistan


U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has promised victory over a resurgence of Taleban forces in Afghanistan. Rice reaffirmed U.S. support for Afghanistan during a visit to Kabul, where she met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Wednesday.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice promised continued U.S. support for Afghanistan, during her five-hour visit to Kabul. After a meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Rice said that the Taleban forces responsible for a series of attacks will be defeated.

"Afghanistan has determined enemies and they are ruthless but they will not succeed in undermining or in rolling back the democratic gains of the Afghan people,” she said.

Taleban insurgents have sharply increased bombings and ambushes against Afghan and coalition troops.

Rice said in a radio interview with VOA that the recent rise in violence is not as important as the fact that the whole world is engaged in rebuilding Afghanistan. More than 10,000 coalition soldiers are hunting Taleban militants across southern Afghanistan.

Some terrorism experts say Taleban forces have been more successful in their attacks recently because they are using suicide operations learned from insurgents in Iraq.

Peter Bergen is a terrorism analyst at the New America Foundation in Washington, D.C.

"I think the situation is beginning to look a little bit like Iraq six months after the invasion, where things started to begin to look not very good,” he said. “Suicide attacks, a lot of non-governmental organizations or charities having to sort of rethink what they're doing, travel around parts of the country basically becoming impossible and the Taliban have adopted a lot of the tactics from Iraq."

Bergen says some Afghans are concerned about the U.S. decision to withdraw some 3,000 of its soldiers just as violence in Afghanistan is increasing.

At a congressional hearing on security in Afghanistan on Wednesday, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Army Lieutenant General Karl Eikenberry, said the U.S. military has made progress in training and equipping the Afghan National Army.

"This force at this point in time has become a much more resilient force than it was in 2002," he said. "They believe in themselves, they're fighting well side-by-side with us."

The United States has some 25,000 troops in Afghanistan, but it is handing over operations in southern Afghanistan to NATO.

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