9 Sep 2010

Taliban says it's winning the war in Afghanistan

4:03 pm on 9 September 2010

The leader of the Taliban in Afghanistan says his fighters are winning the war in the country and the NATO-led campaign has been a complete failure.

In a rare statement, the BBC reports, Mullah Omar called on United States President Barack Obama to withdraw his troops "unconditionally and as soon as possible".

NATO has boosted its presence in Afghanistan to 150,000 soldiers in a bid to finally defeat the insurgency.

However, the US has set July 2011 as a date to begin withdrawal, if conditions allow - a move critics say has emboldened the Taliban.

Mullah Omar's statement, which marked the end of the Muslim festival of Ramadan, was posted on jihadist websites.

"The victory of our Islamic nation over the invading infidels is now imminent and the driving force behind this is the belief in the help of Allah and unity among ourselves," he says.

"In the time to come, we will try to establish an Islamic, independent, perfect and strong system."

He also commanded his fighters to observe the Taliban's code of conduct and avoid harming civilians.

Mullah Omar is still considered the spiritual head of the Taliban in Afghanistan, although others are believed to be in day-to-day command of the movement. Unseen in public for years, he is believed to be hiding in Pakistan.