NATO's commander cautioned Thursday against blaming the Taliban for all the violence in Afghanistan, saying al-Qaida and other criminal elements are also contributing to the lawlessness plaguing the country.
"This is inaccurate. It doesn't capture the nature of the problem," US Gen. James L. Jones said in a speech.
He stressed that there were others carrying out violence, including remnants of al-Qaida and "the strong presence of the drug cartels which have their own infrastructure, their own export system, their own security system and are feeding the opposition."
"I would caution that we should not make the Taliban 10 feet tall," Jones told the Vienna-based OSCE, Europe's largest security organization.
NATO is conducting an offensive to dislodge Taliban fighters from parts of Kandahar province.