Tag Archives: Taliban

Afghan Peace Now–Or Anytime?

As American, Afghan and British troops pound away in Afghanistan, the issue of long term peace remains elusive as ever. British foreign secretary David Miliband expressed his nation’s frustration as lack of effort on part of President Hamid Karzai to move vigorously in pursuit of peace. Milband stated bluntly, “my argument today is that now is the time for the Afghans to pursue a peace settlement with as much vigor and energy as we are pursuing the military effort. He expressed frustration with the delay and procrastination of the Karzai government at assuming leadership in pursuit of peace in their own land. In a nutshell, the British government does not believe a single word from Karzai when he states a desire for peace.

In the meantime while Karzai does nothing, British and American lives are being lost in battles for areas dominated by the Taliban. Those on the ground in Afghanistan fear the fight will go on and on because Karzai is not believable when it comes to peace.

Realities Of War In Afghanistan

Directors of Hollywood action films would not last long if asked to develop military strategies for fighting the war in Afghanistan. Unlike in Hollywood, weapons require ammunition and there is ongoing need for doctors and food and drink. An American military unit received word of a Taliban suicide bomber, alert was sounded, and after several hours it became clear that this was another false report. US, British and Afghan troops must proceed with caution through every inch of every building and there is no quick fix when lives are at stake. The Taliban might leave lines that go no place simply to annoy and frighten soldiers. Or, the line could result in a deadly explosion. As one soldier noted, “there’s not a job in the world that is so exciting one moment, so boring the next.”

This is reality for those fighting in Afghanistan although to some Republican congressmen, the soldiers are having a wonderful time and wouldn’t mind spending another few years of their lives in that far off land.

Welcome To War With Taliban

American troops fighting in Afghanistan have encountered new variations in the art of war and fighting guerilla style. The insurgents have cell phones and radios but their approach to fighting western style armies bears some resemblance to fighting the armies of Alexander the Great. Taliban fighters shoot at the enemy, drop their weapons and walk into a crowd only to emerge later on planting a roadside bomb. Who is the enemy and how does one fight against Taliban who intermingle with civilians? They are patient warriors who might take a few days in order to plant in IED in order to make detection of their activities more difficult to halt. One day a man will drop off the explosives, the next day a different man will put in the charge and so on.

Technology can be of assistance to US and NATO soldiers such as drone planes that zoom in to kill an insurgent it spotted planting a roadside bomb or it can prove disastrous when the drone hits a civilian compound. Who knows if the man crouching in the darkness by a road is planting a bomb or going to the toilet?

Why Barack Obama Has No Afghanistan Policy!

Barack Obama ran for the presidency on a platform expressing the view it was necessary to disengage from the war in Afghanistan. President Barack Obama has a foreign policy centered on the need to remain in Afghanistan in order to prevent that nation from sinking into anarchy. Ironically, anyone who lived in the Vietnam War era heard the same rhetoric used in order to justify why American forces had to remain in Vietnam. If they left, was the argument, communism would spread throughout Asia. Fifty years later there is not a shred of evidence anything like that ever happened. The sad aspect of the Obama policy is that it can not even match that of the Taliban in terms of intelligent approaches to win over the people of Afghanistan.

The Taliban has issued a “Code of Conduct” which is centered in “protecting the people” of Afghanistan. Taliban leaders are cutting off close ties with al-Qaeda in order to distance themselves from foreign connections. They also cleverly work to have good relations with Iran and Pakistan in order to avoid opening possibilities for those nations becoming bases against their forces. The Taliban goal is clear–create a Sunni Muslim government that will support Sharia laws as the base of government. In order to accomplish that goal, the Taliban are reaching out to conservative tribal leaders.

So, how does the Obama policy of sending more and more foreign troops into Afghanistan offer a possibility the government of President Karzai will emerge as a more popular leader than Taliban leaders?

General Petraeus Admits Taliban Success

We soon will enter the ninth year of war in Afghanistan with limited indications the situation in improving. On Monday, Tablian forces conducted a series of coordinated attacks in the heart of Kabul against major installations. General Petraeus, commander of US Central Command acknowledged Taliban militants knew what they were doing and increasingly are displaying sophistication in their attacks. “What you saw on Monday was indeed some of the extremists elements showing the resilience and indeed a degree of sophistication in carrying out simultaneous attacks.” If the situation if not improving after eight years, what should we expect in the coming months?

Petraeus also let slip his concern about the impact on American soldiers of being on a fourth deployment. The United States wants to conduct wars, but it does not wish to accept responsibility for what fighting wars requires–more soldiers on the ground. The Taliban will not be defeated by a hundred or thousand drone attacks, it takes soldiers and where will they come from?

Can Taliban Members Fight Taliban

The Afghanistan parliament has once again turned down several proposed members of the Karzai Cabinet on grounds too many were incompetent or corrupt. Richard Holbrooke, the president’s man in Afghanistan, believes the situation in Afghanistan can be dealt with using another strategy. He is advocating urging members of the Taliban to desert their groups and become integrated within Afghanistan society. According to Holbrooke, “the majority of people fighting with the Taliban are not supporters of (Taliban leader) Mullah Omar” so it is possible to persuade them with offers of jobs or economic assistance to join Afghan society.

Given the inept government of President Karzai, the Holbrooke approach makes more sense. There is scant likelihood that Karzai can put together a government that will be successful in defeating the Taliban. Therefore it makes more sense to have the Taliban defeat itself.

Mind Of A Bomber-Death In Afghanistan

He was a true believer, a man who viewed himself on a mission to rid the world of evil. In this case, “evil” represented to the Jordanian doctor anything connected with the United States. President Obama believes enhanced use of drones or 30,000 more troops on the ground in Afghanistan will rid the world of terrorists. A new video depicts Al-Balawi, the Jordanian doctor who entered a CIA camp and blew himself up along with seven CIA agents and a Jordanian agent, was merely logically carrying out the dictates of his anger. He is shown on the video sitting next to the head of Pakistan’s Taliban while saying, “we will never forget the blood of our emir, Baitullah Mehsud. We will demand revenge for him inside America and outside.” His words reflect a man who believes in the righteousness of his cause to the extent of killing himself.

CIA Director Leon Paneta defended his agents and insisted they used proper precautions and were just getting ready to search al-Balawi when he killed himself. The problem is not military mistakes on the part of Americans, but continued inability to grasp the conflict is as much with ideas as it is with people. Drones can not destroy ideas, only ideas can destroy them. This has always been the fatal mistake of American foreign policy since 2001.

Afghan Civilian Deaths Increase -Due To Taliban

The American military and its Coalition allies have been preaching the necessity of avoiding the killing of civilians if the conflict in Afghanistan is to improve. Latest UN figures indicate this emphasis has finally impacted those in fighting areas. During the initial ten months of 2009 an estimated 2,038 Afghan civilians were killed as a result of combat between US/NATO forces and the Taliban. However, the Taliban are responsible for the death of 1,400 civilians while the percent of killing on the part of US/NATO forces has declined from 40% to 20% of the deaths.

The good news is US/NATO forces are responsible for a lower percentage of civilian deaths, the bad news is the murder of innocent bystanders rose 11% this past year. Reality is until Afghan troops can handle the fighting there will be deaths caused by foreigners who come from non-Muslim nations. Strange as it may seem, until Muslims are responsible for killing Muslims there will be no peace in the region.

Are Pakistan Taliban Staying Or Going?

The topsy turvy world of understanding what is going on within Taliban leadership in Pakistan became even more confused when a top leader gave an interview to a western reporter. Wallur Rehman gave the first Taliban interview in months to a member of the western press and claimed thousands of Pakistan Taliban have been headed for fighting in Afghanistan. “Since (President Barack) Obama is also sending additional forces to Afghanistan, we send thousands of our men to fight NATO and American forces.” He argue this is simply a matter of aiding fellow Taliban in Afghanistan. American military officials denied there was any such operation in progress. “We haven’t noticed any significant movement of insurgents in the border areas.”

Some experts argue this type of interview is simply a means to spread confusion within American leadership by hypothesizing that sending more troops to Afghanistan is self defeating since it only results in more Pakistan Taliban crossing the border. Is it rhetoric? Is it reality? Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of Pakistan Taliban?

Taliban Dig In But Can They Be Dislodged?

The Pakistan army is advancing in South Waziristan as the Taliban digs in for a long, tough fight in order to determine who will control the mountainous area. As Pakistan soldiers drive back Taliban forces they are being attacked themselves as their enemy resorts to suicide bombers that indiscriminately blow themselves up in marketplaces, army headquarters, schools and on roads. Over 170 Pakistani civilians and soldiers have died in these bombings. UN sources indicate over 100,000 civilians have fled the region, but the fight goes on. Pakistan forces are under international pressure to dislodge the Taliban in order to demonstrate their ability to win on the ground against this tenacious enemy.

Civilians report they are being offered two choices by the Taliban– join us and fight the army or leave the town and region. They also report Taliban forces are digging deep entrenchments in the mountains even as Pakistan helicopters and bombers blast away.

Reporters are blocked from accompanying the Pakistan army. We will not soon know if this is a successful assault.