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How US will tackle a resurgent Taliban
February 16, 2007 10:11 IST
United States President George W Bush has announced a new six-point plan to help Afghanistan defeat Taliban forces and terrorists, and establish a stable, moderate, democratic state there.
"The United States' commitment to Afghanistan and its future remains strong," he said in a speech at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington on Thursday.
"We will train you, we will help you, and we will stand with you as you defend your new democracy," Bush said.
The President said the plan envisaged working with allies to strengthen the North Atlantice Treaty Organisation forces in Afghanistan.
"For NATO to succeed, member nations must provide commanders on the ground with the troops and equipment they need to do their jobs," he said.
The President said the Taliban and Al-Qaeda had been on the run over the past five years, but they struck back in 2006 -- doubling roadside bombings, tripling attacks on NATO troops and increasing fivefold suicide bombings, which were once a rarity in Afghanistan.
In anticipation of a spring surge in attacks, Bush said his administration has completed a comprehensive strategic review and is preparing six initiatives combining a stepped up military presence with an expanded focus on economic development.
The initiatives include building Afghanistan's national police force from 61,000 to 82,000 personnel and the Army from 32,000 to 70,000 troops by 2008.
President Bush called on allies to join the United States in strengthening their contributions to the 37-nation, 32,000-strong NATO-led International Security Assistance Force.
US forces in Afghanistan will be increased by 3,200, he said, while acknowledging new commitments from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Turkey and the United Kingdom.