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12/12/2004

Operation Lightning Freedom

Lieutenant General David Barno offers some anecdotal evidence that the Taliban amnesty is working:

[Reuters] Afghanistan's radical Islamic group, the Taliban, has been thrown into turmoil over an offer of reconciliation from President Hamid Karzai, the commander of U.S.-led forces in the country said on Thursday.

Lieutenant General David Barno told Reuters in an interview that Taliban members had been devastated by their failure to scare off Afghans from voting in the country's first democratic election on Oct. 9, and now feared being left out of its future.

"I think they are at an internal crossroads and they are having great difficultly deciding what their future should be," Barno said in his rug-strewn office in the U.S. military camp in Kabul.

"We see indications that there are arguments even among the leadership about whether it's time to accept reconciliation with the Afghan government."
The US has launched an offensive, Operation Lightning Freedom, to secure the country before Spring parliamentary elections and to "to persuade Taleban militants to accept a recent US amnesty offer and disarm." [BBC] The operation "includes a redeployment to tighten security on the border with Pakistan and raids by special forces to snatch rebel leaders." [CNN/AP] Barno hopes that success in Lightning Freedom will allow a troop draw down next year.

 

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