September 4th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Taliban still a major threat 8 years later

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/08/10/afghanistan.taliban.challenge/art.soldiers.run.afp.gi.jpg caption="A U.S. soldier takes his position near a building attacked by the Taliban south of Kabul, Afghanistan, on Monday."]
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/08/10/afghanistan.taliban.challenge/art.mcchrystal.hill.gi.jpg caption="Gen. Stanley McChrystal says the American death toll in Afghanistan will remain high for some time."]
Ivan Watson

It has been nearly eight years since U.S. forces overthrew the Taliban leaders of Afghanistan, but the war against the Taliban insurgency is bloodier than ever.

The number of Afghan civilians killed in the wake of the war has increased 24 percent in the first six months of this year compared with the same time period last year, according to the United Nations. And NATO and American forces suffered record losses this summer, with 75 troops killed in the month of July, making it the deadliest month for Western troops in the country since American warplanes first began bombing the Taliban in October 2001.

The U.S. death toll will remain high for some time as the Taliban has gained the upper hand, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, told The Wall Street Journal in an interview published Monday.

"It's a very aggressive enemy right now," McChrystal told the newspaper in the interview Saturday at his office in Kabul, Afghanistan. "We've got to stop their momentum, stop their initiative. It's hard work."

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Ivan Watson
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Heather,ca

    If only we had focused all of our attention and resources on the war on terror here where it started. Instead we were sidetracked to Iraq. We must finish and show them that you can't mess with America. We have the best military in the world. We can do this.

    September 4, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  2. dan

    It is clear that the greatest threat to the security and stability of the world lies pakistans north-west frontier province and across the border into afghanistan. This is where hundreds if not thouseands of small madrassas (shool that teach jihad and train taliban and al qaeda foot soldiers) operate and continue to push out the next generation of death and fear. We have to combat this situation, get the taliban weakened back to its 2004 shape and then tackle the situation in the largely ungoverned north-west fronteir province in pakistan. Who know we might even end up getting Osama while were at it.

    September 4, 2009 at 3:16 pm |