The Afghan Taliban are angry that the man whose job it is to kill their fighters has claimed to be making progress; so angry that they want to hold an unprecedented news conference to talk about it.


The Islamist group said yesterday they wanted to call together international media based in Afghanistan to discuss the assertion made by Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan.


Violence in Afghanistan is at its worst since the Taliban were overthrown by U.S.-backed Afghan forces in late 2001 as both sides step up their attacks, resulting in heavy insurgent casualties and soaring foreign troop deaths.


But in recent months, both sides have also stepped up the propaganda battle, flooding international and Afghan outlets with media statements.

Yesterday, the Taliban — who banned television during their rule of Afghanistan from 1996-2001 — described Petraeus’s recent comments to NBC television and the BBC about pockets of progress being made as “deceitful business” and “organized propaganda.”

In the statement e-mailed to media outlets — computers were also proscribed during their rule — the Taliban, or Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, called for a news conference so that it could reveal the “reality” to the world.