Afghanistan: January 19, 2005


The last Taliban holdouts are giving up hope of making a comeback. The growing strength of the Afghan army, and the relentless operations by American troops, are seen as a foe that cannot be overcome. In addition, most Afghans want peace, and they don't want the kind of restrictive rule the Taliban provided. So the government is making amnesty deals with most of the remaining Taliban groups. There will still be a few hundred pro-Taliban gunmen loose in the region, as well as a smaller number of men in Afghanistan and Pakistan who are loyal to Islamic radical Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. Finally, there are several hundred, perhaps as many as a thousand, al Qaeda. But many of these are busy guarding Osama bin Laden and other al Qaeda leaders. In fact, warlord militias and drug gang manpower are much larger than the remaining Islamic radical forces. The abuses of the militias and drug gangs go unreported, but do far more damage.




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