Taliban call on US to send fact-finding team to Afghanistan

The Taliban called on the US Congress to send a "fact-finding mission" to Afghanistan to investigate what they called the lies and propaganda spread by American military chiefs to prolong the war.

Last Updated: Nov 07, 2010, 22:40 PM IST

Kabul: The Taliban called on the US
Congress to send a "fact-finding mission" to Afghanistan
to investigate what they called the lies and propaganda spread
by American military chiefs to prolong the war.

The Islamist militant group has been fighting for more
than nine years to topple the Kabul government, which is
backed by 150,000 US and NATO troops.

In the past year, Taliban influence has spread across
the country from their bastion in the south where the war is
concentrated, and momentum has been widely seen to have turned
in their favour.

The statement, addressed to "Messers American
Congressmen," was emailed to AFP and signed by Qari Mohammad
Yousuf Ahmadi, "spokesman of the Islamic Emirate of
Afghanistan".

It suggested the Congressional team travel throughout
Afghanistan to uncover "ground realities" it said are being
concealed by military leaders eager to give the impression of
victory.

The resistance to the US-led war against the Taliban
was indigenous, the group said, contrary to claims by
Washington it was influenced from outside the country.

The Taliban leadership is believed to be based in the
Pakistani city of Quetta, from where it is thought to fund,
plan and man operations in Afghanistan.

According to media reports, studies and top NATO
figures, it does so with the support of Pakistan`s
intelligence service, though Islamabad has denied the
allegations.

The Taliban occasionally issue such statements, which
are generally dismissed by Washington and its partners backing
the Kabul government.

On September 11 they called for an unconditional
withdrawal of foreign troops -- a condition for opening peace
talks with the government -- and an end to the "illegal
occupation" of Afghanistan.

In August the group suggested the establishment of a
multilateral committee to investigate civilian casualties,
which the United Nations says are overwhelmingly caused by the
Taliban.

"Can a few militants stand up to armed forces of 40
countries including the strongest countries of the world,"
Sunday`s statement said, referring to the US-NATO alliance.

"In fact the current armed jihad (holy war) is a
country-wide resistance against you. Men and women, old and
young from every tribe, ethnicity, caste and area have arisen
to oppose you. Thus by your intending to wipe out the
resistance, you have chosen the way of committing genocide of
the whole nation," it said.

PTI