North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces in Afghanistan, together with Afghan National Army troops, have reportedly killed as many as one-hundred-fifty Taleban insurgents in a battle in the Margha hills in Afghanistan’s Paktika province. A statement issued by NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan said, “the insurgents had been observed gathering in Pakistan and had crossed the border prior to launching an attack.”
NATO officials say they were helped by Pakistan’s security forces, which had been monitoring the movement of the insurgents. Pakistan’s Interior Minister Aftab Sherpao said the operation was a “classic case” of cooperation between NATO and Pakistan to combat Taleban terrorists. Pakistani troops also attacked pro-Taleban fighters in the Pakistani province of North Waziristan.
The commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, General David Richards, said that Taleban cross-border attacks had been reduced by the end of 2006 because of stepped-up pressure by the Pakistani military.
More than three-thousand-five-hundred people were killed in insurgent attacks in Afghanistan last year. President George W. Bush says NATO forces have played a major role in meeting the Taleban threat:
"Since taking command of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, NATO has expanded it from a small force that was operating only in Kabul into a robust force that conducts security operations in all of Afghanistan. . . .They're serving with courage and they are doing the vital work necessary to help this young democracy secure the peace."
With the help of NATO forces in Afghanistan, the Afghan security forces are also confronting Taleban terrorists. Jalil Luden is among thousands of auxiliary police being recruited by the government of Afghanistan to deal with the insurgency. “We are not scared,” says Mr. Luden, “it is my own country. We have to help.” His fellow recruit Noor Mohammed agrees. “Our country is like our mother,” says Mr. Mohammed, “we will defend her from any terrorist.”
With the help of the United States and its NATO allies, Afghanistan, says President Bush, now has “an elected president, a democratic constitution, and brave soldiers and police fighting for their country.”
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.