Afghan army not good enough to thwart Al Qaeda, Taliban: Commander

Last Updated: Sun, Feb 03, 2013 11:40 hrs

London, Feb 3 (IANS) Withdrawing British troops from Afghanistan will spark a "global jihad" and allow Al Qaeda and the Taliban to seize power, a top Afghan army commander has said.

British Prime Minister David Cameron is hosting a summit to discuss plans to combat terrorist threats after American and British troops pull out in 2014, the Daily Mail reported.

Col. Amin Jan of the Afghan National Army said that Afghan troops are "not good enough" to defeat the militants.

Jan, 55, is the deputy commander of a brigade of 4,500 soldiers in Helmand province.

He accused politicians of making misleading assessments of Afghan troops' capabilities to justify their decision to accelerate the pull-out of international forces.

Cameron will meet Pakistani President Asif Zardari and Afghan President Hamid Karzai Monday.

Asked if 2014 was the right time for a handover, Jan said: "No, I would say that it is too early, because the situation will not have ended."

"If the British leave, the jihadists will see it as a good sign. A worldwide jihad will take place. That is my view."

Asked if the Afghan army could defeat the Taliban without international help, he said: "Our leaders might say we are able to do the task, but it will be difficult."

"We have enough soldiers, we have the quantity, but we need the quality. We need more professional and better trained commanders."

"Do the British want Afghanistan to return to being a Taliban state? That is the prospect," he said.

Jan blamed the situation on Pakistan.

"Pakistan is at the root of the problem. I know what is happening there because I live on the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan," he told the daily.

"Pakistan is training the Taliban over the border and giving homes to their commanders. The international community needs to put more pressure on Pakistan to stop this before it is too late. We know that Iran is involved as well."

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