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Violence Escalates In Afghanistan, as US, NATO Forces Push Further Against Insurgents

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Britain's Ministry of Defense says insurgents in Afghanistan have killed a British soldier during an attack on a foot patrol in the country's restive south. Officials said Monday insurgents shot the soldier as he was patrolling Sunday in Helmand province. The latest violence follows a wave of attacks by the Taliban that claimed the lives of dozens of Afghan civilians, as well as NATO troops and Afghan security forces.  VOA's Chris Simkins has more on the story.

U.S. troops in another gun battle with Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan. Five Americans were killed Saturday in separate Taliban assaults. In the last week, fighting has escalated as US and NATO forces push further into Taliban strongholds. Dozens of Afghan civilians and security forces were also killed.  

An Afghan army spokesman says at least 50 Taliban militants died in fighting on Saturday.  

The latest violence comes as the U.S. tries to implement its strategy of fighting the Taliban and protecting civilians.

Retired Army General Jack Keane says the strategy will not work without an increase in U.S. combat troops.

"What we learned after three years of a failed strategy in Iraq was we didn't have the right resources and we didn't have the right strategy," said Jack Keane. "Now we have the right leaders, the right strategy in Afghanistan and what we need is the appropriate level of resources to do it."

While the fighting in Afghanistan reaches new levels, a new audio message attributed to al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden claims President Obama will be "powerless" to stop the war in Afghanistan.

The recording appeared Sunday on an Islamist Web site.

American public support for the war in Afghanistan has been declining. Erik Leaver, with the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, says adding more combat forces would be a mistake.

"The more that we put U.S. troops on the ground, the more we [the United States] are seen as an occupier," said Leaver. "I think that it puts the civilian population there actually more at risk."

The Obama administration is expected to make a decision soon on whether to send additional troops to Afghanistan.  General Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. and NATO commander there, is expected to ask President Obama to boost the number of combat troops beyond the 68,000 that will be on the ground by the end of the year.

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