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'Extra US troops will not end Afghan fighting'

world Updated: Apr 06, 2009 18:38 IST

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Thousands of extra US troops headed to Afghanistan will not stop the Taliban insurgency but fuel further attacks, the militia said on Monday in a statement directed at the top US military commander. Admiral Mike Mullen told reporters in Kabul on Sunday that an extra 17,000 US troops to be deployed to Afghanistan in coming weeks would allow security forces to start to turn the tide against insurgents in the south.

Mullen has been holding two days of talks in Afghanistan with US envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke.

"As much as the foreign forces increase, fighting will increase and there will be increased civilian casualties," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told AFP in a telephone call from an undisclosed location.

"And there will be more opportunity for the Taliban to attack and the battle will expand," he said.

The conflict would not be settled through war, the spokesman said.

"The solution is that foreigners should leave the country without any terms and conditions. When they are out, the fight will end," he said.

The Afghan government and its international allies have also warned there is no military solution to the conflict, which last year reached its deadliest since the 2001 US-led invasion ousted the Taliban regime.

They have put the stress on building good governance and reconstruction, alongside providing security, to persuade Afghans to turn their back on the Islamist militants.

US President Barack Obama announced that he would send the extra troops, along with 4,000 security force trainers, to support about 70,000 international troops already in Afghanistan, most of them under NATO command.

The extra deployments are part of a sweeping new US strategy to defeat the insurgency in Afghanistan, which also focuses on eliminating Al-Qaeda bases in Pakistan and boosting civilian reconstruction efforts.

The visit by Mullen and Holbrooke follows a NATO summit in Europe which endorsed the new strategy.

The US officials were expected to meet Afghan President Hamid Karzai again on Monday before leaving for Pakistan. They met the president on Sunday.

They also saw the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force commander, US General David McKiernan, and key opposition figure Mohammad Younus Qanooni, who is speaker of the lower house, a US military official said.