Taliban say ready for Nato’s major surge in Helmand
The International | February 06, 2010
PESHAWAR: The Afghan Taliban have said that they have made preparations for a long battle in the southwestern Helmand province.
“Taliban are not afraid of the planned major offensive by foreign forces in Helmand. We are happy that foreigners would come out of their bases and our fighters would attack them,” Mulla Sharfuddin, Taliban commander in Helmand, told the Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) by phone from an undisclosed location.
“Taliban are well aware of the enemies’ plan and they have already made preparations,” he claimed. Asked what kind of weapons the Taliban would use in the expected fighting, the Taliban commander said: “We have made all arrangements and divided the area under different commanders.
“We would use mines, heavy weapons and different military tactics in the fighting.” He said the people of Helmand were standing by the Taliban and foreign forces would not be able to force the Taliban out of the province.
He termed the foreign forces’ announcement of launching a major offensive in Helmand as a propaganda tactic and reminded that the foreigners had also mounted major attacks in the past but failed.
He maintained that the Taliban were very strong in the area and would defeat their enemy again. Asked whether Arab, Uzbek and other foreign fighters were present in the ranks of the Taliban, the commander insisted that all the fighters were Afghans.
He urged the Afghan police and soldiers to stop fighting against the Taliban. “I urge the Afghan National Army and the police not to fight against the Taliban. They should take part in Jihad along with the Taliban against the infidels. The foreigners have invaded Afghanistan and it is their duty to wage Jihad.”
About involvement in drug trade, Sharfuddin said the Taliban were not involved in poppy cultivation and drug trafficking. “The Taliban had banned drug cultivation during their rule,” he claimed. The commander said that most of the areas of Helmand, including Baghran, Baghni, Washer, Deshu, Brahmcha and Marja, were in the control of Taliban.