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Pentagon Map Shows Wide Taliban Zone in the South


Pentagon Map Shows Wide Taliban Zone in the South
By Gareth Porter | IPS

The Pentagon was still trying to spin its report on the war in Afghanistan issued this week as holding out hope because the instability had leveled off, even as some news outlets were noting that it documents the continued expansion of Taliban capabilities and operations.

The most significant revelation in the report, however, is that Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal and the U.S.-NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) joint command now acknowledge officially that the Taliban insurgents dominate a vast contiguous zone of heavily populated territory across southern Afghanistan that McChrystal regards as the most critical area in the country.

The report admits that the population in key districts across most southern provinces is sympathetic to or supportive of the insurgents.

The contiguous zone of Taliban political power stretches all the way across the 13 provinces from Farah province in the far west of the country through Helmand and Kandahar to Wardak, Logar, Paktia and Khost provinces west and south of Kabul.

The extent of Taliban political power in southern Afghanistan, which had not been acknowledged previously by ISAF, is documented in a map showing an "overall assessment of key districts" as of Mar. 18. Read more.

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