NATO troops are embroiled in a bloody combat with Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan, but European defence leaders say there can be no further reinforcements. It was agreed last weekend that up to 2,500 more troops were needed to assist the British, Danish and Canadian troops in the South. But EU member states say their forces are already stretched to the limit. The news comes as Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, warns in Brussels that Taliban insurgents are now a much more dangerous threat than Al Qaeda. 32 Canadian soldiers have already died in the country but U.S Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice says there should be no withdrawal: “If you allow a failed state in that strategic of a location, you’re going to pay for it. And I know that there’s a sacrifice. And I know that it’s hard work. And I know that there are times when it seems that things are not going in a straight line” she said.
Only days after a suicide attack close to the U.S. embassy in Kabul, Pervez Musharaf says he believes Taliban fighters are being commanded by former ruler Mullah Omar from a base in southern Afghanistan. Analysts say the recent violence in the south risks turning local opinion against NATO troops, undermining the goal of further reconstruction. NATO puts the Taliban death toll at more than 500, a figure the Taliban disputes. Officials say there have also been civilian casualties. The U.N. Security council yesterday approved a resolution extending the mandate of the NATO force, until October 2007.