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THE TALIBAN CLAIM TO BE UNDESTROYED

RIA Novosti

ISLAMABAD, March 14 (Yevgeny Pakhomov of RIA Novosti) - Mufti Latifullah Hakimi, a spokesman for the Taliban movement, has described as "premature" the statements of the Afghan government and the US commanders in Afghanistan about the Taliban's defeat.

"As soon as the weather changes, the snow melts and the cold season is over, our attacks will be intensified," Hakimi said in a RIA Novosti interview.

According to him, the Taliban leader, Mullah Omar, is now guarded by loyal people and continues supervising the Taliban in Afghanistan.

"Our commanders receive his regular instructions," said the mufti.

He disagrees that the Taliban have failed their guerilla campaign. "We believe that our campaign is quite a success, and intend to achieve better results. The resistance to the pro-American authorities is mounting," argues Hakimi.

He put down the current calm in Afghanistan to the fact that the Taliban have launched negotiations with Kabul authorities. "We did not initiate any talks with the pro-American government of Afghanistan and did not delegate anyone to negotiate on our behalf. The people who are allegedly in talks with the pro-American government in reality represent themselves only," he said.

Latifullah Hakimi noted it was his first interview with the Russian press. He talked to a RIA Novosti correspondent on a satellite phone from an unnamed district of Afghanistan.



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