Massoud Confident Of Rolling Back Taliban Advances
London, July 4, IRNA -- Commander of Afghanistan's United Front (UF), Ahmad Shah Massoud says that he is confident of checking and even rolling back anticipated advances by the Taliban militia this summer.
This year there has been a broad political accord among the often fractious personalities and factions in the anti-Taliban alliance resulting in agreement to suspend contending party political activities and focus on coordinated military resistance, he said.
In an interview with Jane's Defense Weekly, Massaoud said that after a "particularly bad financial position" of opposition forces last year, the situation had improved by taking over greater control of mining and the marketing of gems.
Jane's noted there had been an increase in the UF's capability, including acquiring new Soviet-era T-55/T-62 main battle tanks and armoured fighting vehicles following Massoud meeting in Dunshanbe last October with the then Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev.
In a highly publicised first trip to Europe in April, the UF commander also visited France and Belgium to seek support.
But despite the mounting international pressure on Pakistan over its support for Taliban, Massoud maintained that the new military regime in Islamabad was still anxious to see decisive Taliban gains this year.
"Some 10 days after my return from Europe, Pakisanti military chiefs held a meeting in which it was decided to press ahead with the war," he said.
Massoud argued that continued military resistance to the Taliban was essential if the militia is to be brought to the negotiating table and the way opened for a political settlement.
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