Oct 19 2009

War On Terror Could Be In Final Stages

Published by at 8:22 am under All General Discussions,Bin Laden/GWOT

I stand by General McCrystal and his request for more troops, even though that likely means our son will go to Afghanistan as part of any surge. Depending on the timing of these new forces, though, the war on terror could be wrapping up sooner rather than later.

The US and Pakistan have been tightening the noose around the Taliban holdouts in the tribal regions of Pakistan for a couple of years now. The US, NATO and Afghan forces are established along the Afghan border which runs across the northern edge of this hot spot. And the Pakistanis have been pushing through the region taking down the viral Taliban forces (see map below, click to enlarge).

When the Taliban and al Qaeda forces were at their peak they were ranging into the Swat Valley in the North West Frontier Province, wreaking havoc. Pakistani forces drove them from Swat, then pushed the Islamo Fascists from Bajur, Mohmand, and Kurran Agencies. As can be seen this drive from East to West has pushed the Taliban and al Qaeda back into the two Waziristan Agencies in the far western regions of the Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA). This appears to be the birth place of the Taliban and al Qaeda and is their stronghold in the region.

During this same time armed US Predator drones have been surgically taking out Taliban and al Qaeda leaders in FATA. The US and NATO forces act as a barrier to the North, while the Pakistanis swept through from the South and East. They also have forces along the Western edge of FATA. A nice little shooting gallery for the world’s last large sanctuary for radical Islam.

Last week, after months of aerial assaults to soften up the enemy, the Pakistanis began their drive into the heart of Islamo Fascism as they entered South Waziristan in force:

Pakistani soldiers surged into the region on Saturday from three sides, and military officials said they were targeting the vast holdings of the Mehsud tribe, whose members make up much of the leadership of the Pakistani Taliban. Among the towns that the Pakistani military has captured is Kotkai, the hometown of Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud, according to Shahab Ali Shah, South Waziristan’s top civilian administrator.

The military says its forces are fighting as many as 12,000 militants in a battle it expects to last two months.

More here:

Make no bones about it, Pakistan’s army is deadly serious about its operation against the Taliban in the lawless tribal area of South Waziristan.

It has deployed thousands of troops and a vast array of weaponry for what it knows is a crucial battle for the future of the Pakistani state.


The militants have entrenched themselves in fortified positions in the areas where the military is marching in.

But they are likely to resort to traditional guerrilla tactics once the army is firmly inside territory controlled by the Mehsud tribe.

This is the heartland of the resistance, and it is here that the fate of the campaign will be decided.

But despite all these measures, it increasingly appears that traditional factors in this remote mountainous region bordering Afghanistan will be decisive.

Emphasis mine. There is little doubt the modern Pakistan Army supported by air power can win the battle. The question is being prepared for the follow up, after taking back the region. And here is another important detail:

Gen. David Petraeus, the head of U.S. Central Command, was holding meetings with Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani in Islamabad.

Gilani called for more international aid for relief efforts and reconstruction in the tribal region of South Waziristan, a refuge and a power base for insurgents operating in Pakistan and along the Pakistani-Afghan border.

This is why we need more troops in the region, and a lot more aid. We need to make sure once the back of the Taliban is broken and scattered they cannot regroup in any large numbers to attack again. That means securing the southern provinces of Afghanistan (our job) as well as controlling the tribal areas of Pakistan (Pakistan’s job).

This is where the Iraq Surge overlaps with this final battle over the birthplace of al Qaeda and 9-11. We need to secure and rebuild, turning the populace from the Islamo Fascists. In Iraq, al Qaeda went from being the future of Islam to the enemy of Islam because of our dedication and their brutality. As we built they bombed, mostly Muslims.

It is similar in the Pak-Afghan tribal regions – but also different. In Iraq al Qaeda were outsiders. They were Muslims but no Arabs. In this battle over the heartland of Islamo Fascism it will not be so easy to turn hearts and minds. But we must in order to bring this war to its conclusion. It has happened in some places in the region already, so it is not impossible. But it requires focus and determination.

Some previous posts on this matter:

Afghans Rise Up Against Taliban

Amazing Developments In War On “Human Created Disasters” (aka Terror)

US Attacks Taliban Stronghold In Waziristan

The “Drone Wars” – It’s Hammer Time In Pakistan’s Tribal Area

Crushing al Qaeda’s Last Large Sanctuary

Pakistan Surge In Progress

Pakistan Moves On Terrorist Camps And Enclaves In Pakistan

A Surge Building In Pakistan Tribal Areas, First Attacks Begun

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “War On Terror Could Be In Final Stages”

  1. AJ,

    The issue with Pakistan is that the ISI makes Pakistan a bigger terrorist supporting state than Iran.

    As long as the Pakistani state exists, so too will the ISI.

    The Schwerpunkt of our operations in Southern Afghanistan are the Helmand Drug Lords.

    The Afghan drug war is about logistics. Drug logistics. Heroin is worth $3.5 million a ton, while the opium it is made from is worth only about $100,000 a ton. Morphine is somewhere in between. The key transportation metrics are 10,000 tons of opium (worth about $45 a pound) converted to 1,300 tons of heroin (worth about $1,600 a pound) using 2,600 tons of acetic anhydride.

    It works like this:

    Farmers can obtain 7-15 pounds of opium per acre (8-17 kg per hectare), or create the opium which is refined into heroin. The farmer is paid about a thousand dollars per acre for the opium. But the value of that opium increases fifty times once it is refined into heroin and sold in the West. Most of that increase goes to middlemen (refiners, smugglers and distributors). Most of the increase in value occurs once the heroin gets out of the country, but that still makes the opium and heroin trade the biggest single segment of the Afghan economy.

    The majority of this is all in one province, Helmand province. And the majority of the poppy growing in that province takes place along the Helmand river, which runs through a desert. Think really high contrast background for human agricultural or chemical/industrial activites

    The wealth and drug processing facilities for converting opium to heroin cannot hide in a relatively small, howling wilderness from American UAVs with video, radar and chemical sniffer sensors.

    Nor can the Drug Lord SUV’s nor heavy fuel, industrial chemical and harvest trucks hide from JSTARS. We have been in Afghanistan long enough that we have opium harvests templated.

    Worse for the drug lords and their Taliban allies, we have informer networks now in Helmand province and the Pakistan tribal territories that tell us who the bad guys are and generally where they live and operate.

    Orders of magnitude mean things and converting 10K of opium to 1.5K of heroin for smuggling is where the action is in terms of creating & more importantly smuggling wealth out of Afghanistan.

    Since the value added step in the drug chain is the Opium to Heroin step, NATO/American ground forces can destroy that step in Helmand province and kill both the drug gang income and the majority of the Taliban’s payroll.

    You can’t eliminate the drug problem world wide due to the demand in the west.

    You can eliminate production in some lawless areas and force it elsewhere.

    When you make war on Drug Lords with a) A limited geographic scope and b) The full spectrum of government capabilities. You can and do win. It has been done in the past and drug productio can be forced out of Afghanistan. Please see the FARC ‘s cocaine cowboys in Columbia and the minority ethnic Burmese Opium lords.

    We have sufficient forces and particularly intelligence forces (See “the Great Pile On” below) to utterly disrupt — AKA destroy faster than the Drug lord lieutenants can reorganize — Helmond drug gathering, supply and money distribution chains.

    This destroys these people’s cash flow such that we can make offers that cannot be refused by the Pashtun farmers.

    And if the Druggies/Taliban try and stop the locals from taking that offer, we win via putting in cell phones and reaction forces so tips can both safely be made and acted upon in time.

    See the articles below:

    The Great Afghan Pile On

    Better Living Through Chemistry

    Heroin And Terrorism

    High Times


    Heroin and Bling

    It Can Be Done

  2. BarbaraS says:

    The war on terror might be in the last stages but Obama will lose it if he can. Dems don’t want to fight wars. They cost money. Money that could be better used for vote buying. The heck with survival.