Nato’s military commander has warned of a new wave of suicide attacks from the Taliban and other insurgent forces in Afghanistan.
Speaking at the alliance’s military headquarters in Belgium, General John Craddock said he expected a drop in conventional attacks by insurgents as that strategy had proved unsuccessful against Nato forces over the past two years.
“I would expect that they will look for other ways to come back and it’ll be irregular, asymmetric. It’ll be with what is very sensational and resonates in the press and other places: that’s the bombings”, he said.
This was the Taliban’s likely response, he said, to an increased number of Nato troops.
Gen Craddock spoke hours after a suicide car bomb aimed at Canadian troops in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar killed 38 Afghans on Monday. On Sunday, more than 100 people watching a dog fight in Kandahar were killed by a suicide bomber.
Gen Craddock said he expected Afghans to turn against the rebels as they target civilians. “I would hope that would create among the people ... some support for information being provided on a greater basis and scale, to tell us ... where are these cells that make these bombs.”
The general strongly rejected allegations that the west was losing Afghanistan. He insisted there was “some progress” in security and governance. But he called on allies to increase their troop contributions – as requested by Nato commanders in Afghanistan – and to drop restrictions on their troops.
●One of Afghanistan’s most influential former warlords was on Tuesday stripped of his position as army chief of staff, Jon Boone reports from Kabul.
General Abdul Rashid Dostum, a notorious Uzbek militia leader, was temporarily suspended after allegations that he had beaten up and abducted a political rival. Gen Dostum has denied the allegations.