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Increasing Attacks Sign of Taliban's Better Regrouping

The intensifying attacks by suspected Taliban fighters against US-led foreign troops over the last two weeks in Afghanistan is an indication of the group's better regrouping, Afghan observers in Kabul believe.  

At least four US soldiers have been killed and over 10 others were injured in Taliban related militancy since May 20 in the troubled southern and southeastern provinces of the war-torn country.


"Pounding US bases with rockets and ambushing their convoys is a sign of Taliban's better regrouping and better equipment," observed retired Colonel Mohammad Jihangir.


In the latest attacks of a series of violent insurgency, four US soldiers were killed in the southern Zabul Province Saturday inaction with the suspected Taliban remnants.


Earlier on Thursday evening, two US soldiers were wounded in firefight with the militants in the southeast rugged Paktika Province along the border with Pakistan.


Another eight US soldiers were injured on May 20- 21 in Khost.


"Taliban's continued attacks on foreign troops, aid workers and government interests is not only a proof to the US-led coalition's failure in curbing terrorism but would also cast shadow over the landmark elections slated for September," maintained the former Afghan army officer.


The continued Taliban-linked insurgency forced the US military leadership to increase the strength of its troops from 13,500 to 20,000.


Contrary to expectations and predictions, the US army and its western allies have so far failed to stamp out the remnants of the former fundamentalist regime and pave the way for the smooth first democratic elections in post-war nation.


President Hamid Karzai who came to power over two years ago has put off the presidential and parliamentary elections from June to September due to security concerns.


Mullah Mohammad Omar, the fugitive leader of Taliban who eluded the US hunt, has termed the election as a toll to "legitimize US occupation of Afghanistan" and vowed to sabotage the process by all means.


The warning and his loyalists' activities undermined the voters' registration process as the process is too slow to meet the date set for the elections.


Over 2.7 million out of 10.5 million population eligible for vote have registered since the inception of the process in last December.


In two separate attacks against elections process, five election workers were injured in east Afghanistan early this month.


The suspected Taliban besides attacking US troops have also targeted the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force for Afghanistan (ISAF) as well as Afghan troops over the last two weeks.


As a result of such militancy, a Norwegian soldier of ISAF was killed and one of his comrades was injured in a fatal attack taking place last weekend in Kabul.


During this period, according to officials, around 30 people including 20 Taliban fighters, three government soldiers and seven civilians were killed.


"Taliban would further be encouraged to increase their activities if the US and government troops fail to check their movement," observed Inamul Haq, a Kabul-based educationist.


"The US military has been boasting for the last two years about its victory over Taliban and terrorism but it appears in vain as the insurgency is getting momentum," he further said.


Besides threatening more attacks against US troops, a pamphlet apparently issued by Taliban and found in some parts of the country urged Afghans to boycott the elections run under US clout.


(Xinhua News Agency May 31, 2004)

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