June 21, 2007:
The Taliban Spring Offensive didn't happen, and the Taliban took a
beating from NATO and U.S. attacks. The Taliban persisted in trying to use
platoon size (30-50 gunmen) units, which regularly were spotted by UAVs and
blasted by smart bombs. In response to this, the Taliban are cooperating more
with al Qaeda terror attacks. These are more successful, but will not win
Taliban back control of the country. In fact, as demonstrated in Iraq and
elsewhere, al Qaeda terrorism just make
the terrorists more unpopular with the population they are trying to intimidate
and conquer. Al Qaeda leaders have not yet come to grips with this reality. To
the al Qaeda brass, if the mass media and pundits say they are on a roll and
making "progress," then it must be so. Getting mesmerized by media
attention has never been a war winning strategy.
June 20, 2007:
The Afghan army carried out its first solo operations. About 1,400
Afghan troops completed a three week operation in southern Afghanistan, to
clear out Taliban fighters and restore government control to remote villages.
Since 2001, Afghan army troops have operated in joint task forces with U.S. or
June 18, 2007:
The Taliban leadership is taking a beating in Afghanistan, with dozens
of mid-level leaders killed or captured so far this year, and half a dozen
senior guys put our of action as well. This has caused some heated discussion
among the Taliban leadership. The lack of success is hurting fund raising. With
enough cash, the Taliban can keep their rebellion going indefinitely. As the
poorest country in Asia, there are always some young men desperate enough to
make a few hundred bucks, that they will sign up for some Taliban suicide
mission. But without millions of dollars in cash each year, the Taliban is
reduced to sending out press releases and threats via the Internet. Already,
the Taliban is being accused of inventing some of the combat operations it has
taken credit for. The Taliban is in danger of losing some major sponsors this
year, but they still have the drug gangs. However, the drug lords can hire
their own muscle, and don't need a middleman like the Taliban, unless the
Taliban is strong enough to make the drug kingpins an offer they can't refuse.
June 17, 2007:
Terrorists bombed a bus carrying police personnel in Kabul. At least 25
died and about three dozen were wounded.
Afghan security forces have lost over 300 dead so far this year.
June 16, 2007:
The poppy plant harvest is over, and the Taliban are trying to recruit
farmers to go out and fight NATO and American troops. Last year, several
thousand farmers were recruited for this sort of thing, and many, if not most,
of them were killed or injured during the "Summer Offensive."
Apparently memories are long and Taliban recruiters are having a hard time,
even when more money is offered. The farmers can do the math. What's the point
of more pay, if you don't live to spend it.
June 15, 2007:
The Taliban use of civilians as human shields is paying off. Even though
civilians killed by NATO, in those situations, has declined since the beginning
of the year, every incident is played up by the mass media, and brings with it
more calls for NATO forces to respect the Taliban use of human shields. In
effect, to allow the Taliban to get protect themselves from NATO attack if some
civilians can be found to use as shields. No one will come out and say it quite
like that, but that's what it amounts to.