By Gareth Porter
"WASHINGTON, Dec 5 (IPS) - U.S. Secretary of Defence Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen argued in Senate Testimony Wednesday that the 30,000-troop increase is necessary to prevent the Taliban from giving new safe havens to al Qaeda terrorists.
But that argument is flatly contradicted by the evidence of fundamental conflicts between the interests of the Taliban and those of al Qaeda that has emerged in recent years, according to counterterrorism and intelligence analysts specialising in Afghanistan......
President Barack Obama appears to have been informed about the evidence of divergent Taliban and al Qaeda interests. Senior administration officials told the New York Times in early October, evidently with the encouragement of the White House, that the Taliban was now viewed by the national security team as a group that did not have "ambitions to attack the United States". "