Afghanistan Is Out of Control: Intel Chief

Karzai controls just 30% of country, Taliban 10%, tribal leaders the rest
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 29, 2008 2:05 PM CST
NATO Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer left, speaks as Afghan President Hamid Karzai looks on during a joint press conference at the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan on Thursday, Feb....   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The 6-year NATO campaign in Afghanistan is failing, the US intelligence chief told the Senate Armed Services Committee this week. Mike McConnell said Harmid Karzai’s US-backed government controls only about 30% of the country, with the Taliban holding another 10%, and the rest under tribal rule. Security, meanwhile, is “deteriorating” as the Taliban adopts Iraqi guerrillas' tactics.

McConnell’s testimony directly contradicts Robert Gates’ assertion that “the Taliban occupy no territory on a continuing basis” and backs up the even more scathing assessments of several think tanks. McConnell said the Taliban was flush with drug cash and taking sanctuary in southern Pakistan. He did acknowledge that the Taliban’s leadership has been weakened, forcing it to resort to asymmetrical attacks and suicide bombings. (Read more Afghanistan stories.)