In an interview today Lt. Gen. Olivier de Bavinchove, the Chief of Staff for NATO’s occupation forces in Afghanistan, made a staggering claim that “about 80 percent of Afghan territory and the Afghan population are not affected by security problems or violence.”
Bavinchove insisted that violence was only really serious along the southern border “fueled by fighters coming from Pakistan,” while the north, the west and the provinces of central Afghan are “almost entirely safe.”
Which of course doesn’t make any sense, as the most recent UN report showed civilian deaths near an all-time high in Afghanistan, and even NATO’s reports cover violence in central and northern provinces several times a week.
In the far west, regular attacks are reported in Farah and Herat Provinces, while northern provinces like Kunduz still see regular attacks and a Taliban presence that constantly high profile. The center of the country includes the capital city of Kabul, always under attack itself, as well as the Wardak Province.
Certainly violence is higher in the southern parts of the nation, with Kandahar, Helmand and Kunar Provinces accounting for the heaviest fighting. Yet this has been the case virtually for the entire war, and if anything the north has more Taliban fighters now than during the 2001 invasion, when the region was dominated by the Northern Alliance.
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