Kabul: President Hamid Karzai said that
US plans to start withdrawing troops from Afghanistan next
year had boosted the Taliban`s spirits, while an insurgent
attack killed eight Afghan police in the country`s
increasingly volatile north on Thursday.
Speaking to a visiting US congressional delegation,
President Hamid Karzai said the July withdrawal date had
provided "morale value" to the insurgency, the presidential
Karzai also told the head of US Central Command,
General James Mattis, that terrorism could not be defeated
without rooting out terrorist sanctuaries across the border -
a likely reference to Pakistan, where the Taliban and other
groups are believed to recruit fighters and base their
The increasingly outspoken Afghan leader`s comments
echo a common complaint among President Barack Obama`s critics
that the deadline gives the Taliban motivation to hold out
until after next July and then make a new push for power.
Obama himself has stressed that any troop withdrawals will be
linked to the security situation, and American military
leaders have recently been saying it could take much longer to
train Afghan forces.
Violence has spiked around the country as the
Taliban push back against a new security push by US-led
international force - bolstered by 30,000 US troops in the
insurgents` southern and eastern strongholds.
More than 10 militants attacked the police
checkpoint outside the northern city of Kunduz, said
provincial police chief Abdul Raziq Yaqoubi, adding they
suspected the attackers were jihadists from Russia`s restive
Chechnya region who are active in the surrounding province,
also called Kunduz.