Taliban still strong in Afghanistan: Straw | india | Hindustan Times
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Taliban still strong in Afghanistan: Straw

UK Foreign Secy Jack Straw said Taliban now is as strong as it has been at any point since a US-led coalition toppled the regime in 2001.

india Updated: Mar 16, 2006 13:27 IST

The Taliban in Afghanistan is as strong now as it has been at any point since a US-led coalition toppled the regime in 2001, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said on Wednesday.

Testifying before Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, Straw said he believed anti-narcotic efforts in the country were going well but conceded the hard-line Islamic Taliban had gained ground.

"The Taliban threat is ... at least as severe as at any stage" since the regime's fall, he said.

Straw, who also answered questions on issues including Iraq, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the US prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, said he was hopeful that the standoff over Iran's nuclear program would be resolved.

"I remain optimistic about this," he said.

"I think we're doing the right things" to prevent Tehran from developing a nuclear bomb. Britain and its allies pressed successfully to get the issue referred to the UN Security Council.

"It's about managing the situation and raising the cost to Iran of having a weapon system," he said.

Many nations fear Iran is trying to build nuclear weapons, but it says its nuclear program aims only at producing electricity.