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Taliban commander: Afghan war cannot be won

By Channel 4 News

Updated on 23 February 2010

Exclusive: a senior Taliban commander claims Nato's strategy in Afghanistan is in tatters and tells the families of British forces that "this war cannot be won".

Taliban commander Mullar Nasir

In an exclusive interview, Mullar Nasir has told Channel 4 News his forces will not stop fighting while foreign troops remain.

He is widely tipped to become the insurgents' new field commander, but he is also thought to have been at last month's peace talks with the UN in Dubai.

Nasir, also spelt Nisar, has been based in Marjah in Helmand, the scene of the latest Nato offensive. He went south to meet the cameraman - the exact location was kept secret.

"My message to whole of the west, especially the parents of those soldiers who are fighting for the America's vested interests in Afghanistan is that they should not trust the American propaganda," Nasir said.

"I want to address those parents and European countries who sent their soldiers to Afghanistan not to sacrifice their sons on the interests of US. This war can't be won.

"They should consult the Afghan history. No force on the face of the earth had defeated Afghans so far. The Russians were defeated and so are they."

He also insisted that the Taliban could force the allied troops from Afghanistan.

"They (the United States) had announced in the start of the current year that they would stay for about 40 years in Afghanistan but after increasing attacks on their troops they were forced to change their stance within weeks and announced to withdraw forces from Afghanistan in 2011.

"The Canadians and Hollanders also announced their withdrawal plan as well. Let me tell you, if we intensify the attacks on them further it wouldn't take much time to change their withdrawal plan from weeks to moments. They can not stay for even a year."

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Nisar only admitted he had also heard the reports of peace talks, but insisted the "Islamic Emirate are united" in their approach to negotiations.

"If formal talks were initiated, withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan is the first demand of the Taliban. It's the condition set by the head of the Emirate that we would come to the table if foreign forces were withdrawn from the country. We did not move from our principle stand."

Mullar Nisar also claimed the Taliban had been offered money in order to give Nato convoys safe passage.

"I had also been offered US $30,000 per convoy by the Polish soldiers to provide them safe passage," he said. "The very next day of the $30,000 offer, we attacked one of their convoy and inflicted millions of dollars losses on them.

"We called the jirga members and asked them what they say now after the losses had crossed millions in dollars. The torched vehicles are still present in the battlefield."

However Mullar Nisar's claims were rejected by former army captain Patrick Hennessey, who has visited Afghanistan.

He told Channel 4 News: "Poll after poll has shown the Afghans don't support what this man and his bodyguards stand for. Only yesterday 2,000 people in Nad Ali, after the success of Moshtarak, signed up for cash for work programmes.

"People like these are out on the fringe," he said.

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