July 5, 2007:
rescued a German civilians who had been kidnapped and held for ransom.
July 4, 2007: In the south, a roadside bomb hit a Canadian armored truck,
killing six Canadian soldiers and their Afghan translator. The Canadians were riding in a RG-31 Nyala
patrol vehicle, which is explosion resistant, but not invincible. Elsewhere, a
suicide bomber killed five policemen at a checkpoint, and wounded eleven
others. The Taliban have been increasing
their attacks on real, or suspected "spies" (Afghans who have been
tipping off the police about Taliban activities.) Translators working for NATO
and American forces have also been targeted. Either the men themselves are killed,
or family members are kidnapped, forcing the translator to quit, or spy for the
July 3, 2007: The Afghan army
completed its first independent operation. The force consisted of 800 Afghan
soldiers, 200 police and 400 U.S. troops. An Afghan general was in overall
command. In some Afghan units, the only American troops present were the U.S.
Air Force ground controllers, needed to call in air strikes. The Afghan troops
prefer to use smart bombs, once they have cornered a Taliban force. Sometimes
the Taliban will surrender, but most of the time they won't. The Afghan army
has 34,000 troops on active duty, and another 10,000 in training. This is the
most professional army Afghanistan has ever had, thanks to NATO trainers who
have put the recruits through Western style training. But it has taken longer
to develop effective Afghan NCOs and officers. It's the shortage of
professional leadership that limits how many independent operations the Afghans
can carry out. But now, hundreds of Afghan NCOs and officers have at least five
years experience, and are able to lead units efficiently.
July 2, 2007: Seven policemen were
killed by a roadside bomb outside Kandahar.
In eastern Afghanistan, a force of NATO and Afghan troops killed fifty
Taliban hiding out in caves near Tora Bora.
June 30, 2007: In the south, a
large group of Taliban were cornered in a village. Dozens of civilians were
forced to stay in the buildings the Taliban were firing from. Smart bombs were
used to kill most of the Taliban (about 70) and 45 of the civilians they were
using as human shields. There have been cases where civilians resisted being
used as shields, and were killed by the Taliban. This tactic is meant to
terrorize civilians into supporting the Taliban, as well as causing the NATO
troops to hesitate attacking the Taliban. In theory, NATO troops could call for
reinforcements, and lay siege to the Taliban in the village. But this would
give the Taliban the opportunity to call in reinforcements, and snipe at the
NATO troops, and ambush any troops or supplies coming in by road. Some Taliban
could also escape at night. A large part of the NATO advantage is superior
mobility. Staying in one place too long, trying to starve the Taliban out,
would result in more NATO casualties. This favors the Taliban, who believe that
if enough NATO soldiers are killed, politicians back home will lose enthusiasm
for fighting the Taliban and withdraw. Since the Taliban cannot beat the NATO
troops on the battlefield, they are depending on Western media ignorance of
battlefield tactics, and enthusiasm for stories of dead civilians, to force NATO
troops to be withdrawn. Incidents where the Taliban terrorize or murder
civilians gets much less attention than do situations where the Taliban use
civilians as human shields. The Taliban are religious fanatics who believe God
is on their side and that, long term, they will win. The Taliban ignore the
fact that, historically, the religious zealots lose. Taliban leaders tend to
ignore inconvenient past events and concentrated on the miracles they expect to
serve them in the present.
June 29, 2007: In eastern Afghanistan, four Taliban were killed and
fifteen captured. Weapons, explosives and half a ton of opium were also seized.