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UPDATED: 08:57, January 04, 2007
NATO downplays Taliban threat in Afghanistan
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The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Wednesday downplayed Taliban's threat to step up attack on foreign forces in Afghanistan.

Mullah Dadullah, a key commander of Taliban in south Afghanistan and a close aide to Taliban's leader Mullah Mohammad Omar, vowed recently that the hard-line militants would intensify their attacks against Afghan and foreign forces stationed in the post-Taliban land this year.

He also warned that the year of 2007 would be the bloodiest year for foreign forces stationed in Afghanistan.

"If you look at the past, Taliban's chief Mullah Omar in his Eid message suggested that he would make us retreat in shame and disgrace from the region. They achieved nothing and the violence has been reduced," spokesman of NATO forces here Richard Nugee told newsmen here.

Taliban's elusive leader Omar in his messages on the eve of Eid al-Adha, the Muslims religious festival, called on his followers to speed up attacks on government and foreign forces based in Afghanistan.

"They (the Taliban) are threatening but doing little," Nugee stressed.

NATO has killed Taliban's important military leader Mullah Akhtar Usmani in the troubled Helmand province late last year.

The spokesman also stressed that targeting Taliban's leadership has always been a priority to NATO.

Nearly 4,000 people with more than 1,000 civilians had been killed in the conflicts in Afghanistan in 2006 while NATO official said the alliance would do its best to reduce civilian casualties in 2007.

More 40,000 freeing troops including 32,000 under NATO command and some 8,000 others in the framework of the U.S.-led coalition forces have been stationed in Afghanistan to ensure durable stability in the post-Taliban central Asian state.

Source: Xinhua

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