Jan. 26 - Bloodshed persists in Afghanistan as peace efforts are underway -- raising questions about who can end the violence. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
The violence continues in Afghanistan. At least three people are killed in a southern Helmand province Thursday when a car bomb exploded outside an aid office. Brigadier General Carsten Jacobson in Kabul was made available to Reuters by the Pentagon. (SOUNDBITE) (English)Brigadier General Carsten Jacobson, SAYING: "Well I have not got any claim of responsibility for this incident yet, but by the location I would say that it improbably a Taliban incident without being able to comment on it yet." This latest round of attacks comes amid early efforts to reach a peace deal with the Taliban. Earlier this month a U.S. official told Reuters that the new National Intelligence Estimate on Afghanistan concluded that a stepped-up Western military campaign had done real damage to the Taliban's military prowess but "not enough so to change their strategic calculus." While military authority says that the war in Afghanistan will not end of the battlefield there are ongoing questions about what can be accomplished at the negating table. (SOUNDBITE) (English)Brigadier General Carsten Jacobson, SAYING: "This is one of the oldest questions of warfare when it comes to the point of ending hostilities. Mullah Omar has made numerous statements as the spiritual head of the Taliban to stop the killing of innocent civilians in recent week and recent months. Unfortunately, we have not seen these very strong recommendations that he gave to his fighters materializing in the field. So, of course what will happen if the Taliban are going order an armistice or ordering to put the weapons down? ISAF will be on its guard. ANSF will be on their guard but of course we will follow the guidance that we are going to get. However we are aware of the fact the command structures of the insurgency did not prove in recent weeks that Mulla Omar has the authority that he might think he has." More than 2,800 foreign forces have died in Afghanistan since the war was launched in late 2001. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters.