Taliban ‘A Criminal Organization’, Says Nicholson

Gen. John Nicholson, the commander of US Forces and NATO in Afghanistan, addressed a press in Kabul on Thursday and said the Taliban has become a “criminal organization that is more interested in profits from drugs, kidnapping and murder for hire.”

He called on the group to lay down their arms and end the war.

“Taliban have a simple choice: Stop fighting against your countrymen. Stop killing innocent civilians. Stop bringing hardship and misery,” he said.

He also said: “We will not fail in Afghanistan. Our national security depends on that as well.”

Nicholson made it clear that the US and NATO stand by the Afghan security forces against terrorists and enemies of Afghanistan and said that the Taliban cannot win on the battlefield. “It’s time for them to join the peace process.”

“Afghan people want peace and the international community are with you in that journey – it’s a shared vision we can all work towards,” he said.

Nicholson said that the US forces and NATO Resolute Support Mission will increase train, advise, assist efforts in Afghanistan and more advisors from the US and NATO means enhancing training at military schools and growing the Afghan Air Force and Special Forces.

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U.S. troops may not be needed in Afghanistan by 2020, ambassador says

Afghanistan’s military should be able to carry on the fight against Taliban insurgents mostly without the help of U.S. and other foreign troops by 2020, Afghanistan’s ambassador to the United States said Tuesday.

“By 2020 our security forces will be able to have what they need to carry on the fight on their own for the most part,” Hamdullah Mohib told the USA TODAY editorial board.

“We’re not talking about creating a new military,” Mohib said. “What we’re talking about is adjusting what we already have.”

He said the forecast assumes there won’t be any major changes in the security threat in Afghanistan. The Islamic State has made some inroads in the country, though is not considered a major threat.

Mohib said Afghan’s fledgling air force also is growing more self reliant.

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