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New Study Warns Taliban Nearing Afghan Capital; Urges Doubling of NATO Force

An independent policy group is calling for a doubling of NATO troops in Afghanistan, warning that Taliban militants now control vast areas of territory in that country.

In a new study, "Stumbling into Chaos: Afghanistan on the Brink", the Brussels-based Senlis Council says the Afghan conflict has reached crisis proportions. It cautions that Afghanistan is in danger of becoming a divided state with the Taliban now the de facto governing authority in large portions of the south.

The study recommends that NATO double its force level from 40,000 to at least 80,000 troops. It says that without a surge in troops, in combination with renewed efforts to win over the Afghan population, the country is in danger of falling back into the hands of the Taliban.

In 2001, a U.S.-led invasion toppled the strict Islamic Taliban regime in Afghanistan. Over the past year or so, a reconstituted rebel movement has increased suicide attacks against NATO, the U.S. military and Afghan forces.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.