'Taliban's appeal fading, narrative becoming stale,' says ISAF commander

The appeal of the Taliban is fading, and the militant group's narrative is becoming stale, the commander of the International Security Force in Afghanistan (ISAF) has claimed.

General John Allen denied there was any confusion in ISAF tactics of both keeping up military pressure on the insurgents while at the same time seeking dialogue to find a political solution.

"We will pressure the insurgency, so they cannot find a military win," the Gulf News quoted Allen, as saying.

"As in any insurgency, they need to know that they cannot win by continuing to fight. In addition, we are helping to create a strong Afghan force, to which we will facilitate transition," he said.

Allen added that one of the problems with the 2005-2007 period was that there was not enough military pressure on the Taliban, allowing them to restart their operations.

ISAF is supporting the Afghan government in two processes: reconciliation, which is the opening of political dialogue with leaders in the Taliban who might cease operations; and re-integration, an organised programme under which insurgents stop fighting and go home.

Till now over 3,000 Taliban have taken the option to go home, and by doing so have earned some advantages from the government for their community, Allen said. 

Although he believed that many more might have simply gone home on their own without registering with the government.

Looking ahead to the watershed year of 2014, Allen described it as one of significant changes for Afghanistan.

He listed the transition of responsibility for security to Afghan forces from ISAF, the report said.

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