The Taliban can be defeated militarily in Afghanistan but the job is not done, a key U.S. senator said on Sunday, noting that the insurgents still control more than a third of the populated areas of the country and have a “safe harbor” in Pakistan.
Senator Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, told a US TV channel that Pakistan is key to defeating the Taliban in both countries and expressed frustration that Pakistan has failed to deprive them of a safe haven in the rugged mountain areas along its Afghan border.
”Militarily, I think the Taliban are not going to beat us,” she said. But the Taliban “have a safe harbor in Pakistan and the Pakistanis are doing nothing to abate that safe haven,” Feinstein said.
What “the Taliban has done is insinuate itself in a shadowy presence, with shadow governors. They controlled over a third of the land which people live. They expanded into the north, into the northeast,” Feinstein said.
”And while we were there in one province, they closed 14 schools in 17 districts and then they killed five education officials and wounded others,” she told a US TV channel.
”What this does is demonstrate to many of us that the Taliban is just waiting to come back” when U.S. troops leave the country over the next few years, Feinstein said.