incoming ISAF commanderThe incoming NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) commander, Gen. John F. Campbell has called reports regarding the surge of Taliban militants as exaggerated.

Gen. Campbell is expected to succeed Gen. Joseph Dunford as ISAF commander and take over commander of the NATO combat mission in Afghanistan.

The General suggested that the reports suggesting that the Taliban militants are gaining ground as U.S. troop levels fall and Afghan soldiers take on more fighting duties, are more about PR than battlefield realities.

Speaking to reporters in Pentagon, Gen. Campbell said many of the claims were based on propaganda by the insurgents trying to intimidate the Afghan public into supporting them.

“A lot of what you’re getting on how bad it may have been down in the south, or this attack there, or some of the things in the east, is we have kind of lost the information war here,” Gen. Campbell quoted by Star and Stripes said.

He said, “The Taliban are trying to go do what they couldn’t do for the elections with these spectacular attacks.”

The remarks by Gen. Campbell comes as reports suggest that the Taliban militants surged out of strongholds in remote areas of the south and taken over strategic territory around Kabul as well as elsewhere in the country.

Campbell acknowledged the Taliban are making Afghanistan pay a heavy price. “It’s not much ado about nothing. There is very much some concern because of the numbers of civilians that have been attacked and killed is much higher,” he said.

However, he insisted that there’s a fundamental difference between the war now and when he last commanded troops in Afghanistan in 2011.

Campbell said the improved Afghan security forces are usually able to retake lost ground quickly as the Taliban could take and hold positions.


  • Ahmad Shah Ghani Zada is the former Senior Editor of Khaama Press Agency who managed and overlooked the English edition. He is occasionally contributing stories to the agency.