Jun 17 2008

Things Are Heating Up In Afghanistan And Pakistan, Our Enemy’s Last Gasp?

It has long been my contention the last military battle of this War on Terror might happen in the lawless region of the tribal areas of Pakistan, from where Taliban and al-Qaeda militants are raiding the southern regions of Afghanistan.  The number of border incidents have been increasing, culminating in the battle which began in Afghanistan and then flowed into Pakistan last week (see here for a sample post on the incident).  The news media and some in the Pakistan military tried to claim – along with the Taliban – that Afghanistan had invaded Pakistan.  One version of the propaganda is that Afghanistan forces attacked a Frontier Corps (FC) outpost (for what purpose, no one attempted to explain and no one asked) and it was the Taliban who came to the rescue of FC and beat back the invading enemy. 

The US was then accused of destroying the FC outpost using missiles.  This absurd version was mostly debunked by US aerial imaging from drones in the area, which were tracking the source of weapons fire on coalition forces.  The drones helped target these sources with bombs.  I said a week ago this story would fall apart and Pakistan would back (sheepishly) away.  And so it has:

Advisor to the Prime Minister on Interior, Rehman Malik Monday said Pakistan had begun monitoring of its Western borders via satellite. He said there was no missile attack on June 14 by the U.S. or its allies on Mohmand Agency and the incident was misreported.

This is being handled quietly, but I suspect some in the Pakistan government who were sources for the more spectacular claims are being investigated.  The sources came from the intelligence group – or ISI.

It seems the US led coalition in Afghanistan is stepping up its efforts against the last militant strongholds  – now the Iraq, Lebanon and nearly all of Afghanistan are now liberated from the terrorists’ control.  And it seems we are not letting things like borders get in our way anymore:

Two military helicopters of the US-led coalition forces in Afghanistan intruded into Pakistan’s Khyber tribal region, triggering panic among local residents, reports said on Monday. Local residents said the helicopters intruded deep into the Landi Kotal area of Khyber Agency, adjacent to Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province on Sunday afternoon and hovered over the town for more than 10 minutes. This was the first intrusion by helicopters of the coalition forces into Khyber Agency, the Dawn newspaper reported. 

The incident occurred almost a week after an air and ground strike by coalition forces on a Pakistani post in the adjacent Mohmand tribal area killed 11 Pakistani paramilitary personnel and 10 tribesmen. The spy planes of coalition forces have increased their flights over Pakistan’s tribal belt since last week. Spy planes and fighter jets have also increased their flights over North and South Waziristan tribal regions over the past four days.

Bill Roggio at Long War Journal has much more on the detail actions that have been taking place:

The US military may have targeted Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud Several in an airstrike on June 14, according to several reports from Pakistan.

Baitullah’s hideout in the town of Makeen in South Waziristan was hit with three missiles, according to Geo TV and the Daily Times. Only one person was confirmed killed in the strike. Baitullah is not believed to have been killed.

Inside Afghanistan there is also an increase in activity on both sides.  The Afghan and coalition forces have been taking out more and more Taliban cells recently:

Thirty-five insurgents were killed by Afghan and US-led coalition forces over the weekend in two separate clashes sparked by militant ambushes, the coalition said on Monday.

Emphasis mine.  Just as we saw a last gasp for al-Qaeda in Iraq before the final fall, we may be seeing the Taliban and al-Qaeda remnants (supposedly there are not very many) in this region of the world attempt a Battle of The Bulge – a last ditch effort to gain some momentum and get the liberal news media to cry for the US to surrender and run away from Afghanistan.  These attacks by the Taliban are more suicidal than threatening – as the report linked above shows.  35 Taliban killed with no casualties on the coalition side.

Now there are reports of a massive putsch by the Taliban in the southern regions of Afghanistan:

Hundreds of Taliban fighters have swarmed into a strategically important district just outside Kandahar, the biggest city in southern Afghanistan, apparently in a push for control just days after 400 Taliban members escaped in a spectacular breakout from the Kandahar prison, officials said Monday.

Afghan military reinforcements arrived in Kandahar on Monday and have already deployed in Kandahar Province, said a NATO spokesman, Mark Laity. The soldiers flew from Kabul and more can be expected to follow, he said. NATO forces based in Kandahar Province have also redeployed to be better prepared for any potential threat, he said.

A government spokesman, Parwez Najib, confirmed the news that Taliban fighters had infiltrated parts of the district, Arghandab. “There is not fighting yet,” he said. Afghan and foreign forces are aware of the presence of the Taliban, he added.

It was unclear whether any of the fighters were among the prison escapees.

The move by the Taliban on Arghandab, a district that is critical to the security of the city of Kandahar and therefore to the entire south of Afghanistan, comes amid an increased sense of crisis in Afghanistan. Kandahar is still reeling from Friday’s brazen attack by the Taliban on the prison, in which they released some 1,200 inmates, 400 of them members of the Taliban, including some district commanders.

Sorry if I am not impressed.  Every time the Taliban seize real estate they are beaten back with huge casualties.  They don’t have the training, numbers or fire power to resist the combined forces of the Afghanistan and NATO forces.  They are simply fish jumping into the barrel.  Once exposed like this, once they climb out of their holes into the open, they become easy targets.  

What will be interesting to see is how many of those we round up are from Pakistan, and how many are foreign fighters from al-Qaeda.   

Update:  More here on the Taliban force spreading in Afghanistan and the soon to come response:

“There are hundreds of them (Taliban) with sophisticated weapons. They have blown up several bridges and are planting mines everywhere,” Mohammad Usman, a taxi driver who evacuated a family on Tuesday from the district, told reporters in Kandahar.

Ahmad Wali Karzai, the head of Kandahar’s provincial council and a brother of President Hamid Karzai, said about 600 Taliban had positioned themselves in Arghandab district, which lies 20km to the north of Kandahar city, one of Afghanistan’s largest cities.

NATO troops have dropped leaflets by air warning people to leave the district, fleeing villagers said.

Haji Agha Lalai, a member of Kandahar’s provincial council, said 300 families have left so far and more were leaving their homes.

Witnesses said Afghan troops were stationed in many parts of Kandahar city, the birth place of the Taliban who US-led troops drove from power in 2001.

The flareup comes despite the presence of more than 60,000 foreign forces under the command of the US military and NATO as well as about 150,000 Afghan forces.

The Taliban will fail in the coming days, and they will take a beating (600 vs 210,000?).  The fact they have new weapons is disturbing.  These weapons could come from Pakistan allies or Iran (which shares a border with both Pakistan and Afghanistan, though the Pakistan border region includes Pakistan tribes which bridge the border and is ripe for smuggling).  Pakistan is in deep trouble if it doesn’t get its house in order.

BTW, please note this post is completely free of content from the-news-source-that-shall-not-be-named!

10 responses so far

10 Responses to “Things Are Heating Up In Afghanistan And Pakistan, Our Enemy’s Last Gasp?”

  1. WWS says:

    I worrry that those weapons the Taliban have are coming directly from the FC. Likewise, I suspect that large parts of the FC are simply Taliban who are accepting money and weapons for a thin agreement to cause trouble outside of Pakistan, rather than inside. The Pakistani’s will come to regret the day they allowed the creation of the FC.

  2. VinceP1974 says:

    If our State Dept wasn’t so brain-dead and kept pushing for elections , Mussarraff might have still been in control of the place.

  3. dave m says:

    Did anyone catch the UN “leader” Ban-Ki Moon over the weekend?
    Within hours of that jailbreak, he was advising that the time had
    come for the international community (sic) to negotiate with the

    What a freakin’ coward.

  4. dave m says:

    Think this is in the told-ya category,

    Here is Steve Schippert from his site threatswatch

    Nawaz Sharif Calls for Musharraf To Be Hanged

    While I have sharply criticized Musharraf in the past, I have also warned about the potentially dangerous nature of Nawaz Sharif, his past associations and his burning drive to exact revenge on Musharraf, who overthrew Sharif’s government in a bloodless coup. Sharif’s revenge will likely come at any cost – to Pakistan or individuals. Yesterday, Sharif whipped a crowd into a frenzy just a few hundred yards from the Pakistani parliament and the offices of the president, asking “Is hanging only for politicians?” With the crowd whipped into chanting “Hang Musharraf,” Sharif called for Musharraf to be hanged, saying, “These blood-sucking dictators must be held accountable.”

    Pakistan’s former prime minister Nawaz Sharif stepped up his attack on President Pervez Musharraf on Saturday, suggesting he could be hanged while addressing thousands of protesters outside the presidency.

    “We asked you to quit with honor after the election but you didn’t,” Sharif told the crowd, referring to U.S. ally Musharraf, who overthrew him in a 1999 coup. “Now people have given a new judgment for you … they want you to be held accountable,” he said in the early hours of Saturday.
    The crowd, officially estimated at up to 20,000, chanted “hang Musharraf” as it listened to the two time former prime minister’s fiery speech. “Is hanging only for politicians?” asked Sharif, referring to former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, hanged by a military dictator in 1979. “These blood-sucking dictators must be held accountable.”

    By Steve Schippert on June 17, 2008 at 8:19 AM |

    It was pretty obvious, with the assassination of Benazir Bhutto,
    and with their elections yielding no overall majority but a strong
    second place finish for Sharif’s PML-N party, Pakistan has effectively
    become a terror supporting islamist nation. They’re on my list.

  5. RobinSolana says:

    “The Source that Shall Not Be Named”

    I laugh!!! I will smile all day at the thought.

    We must remember there are many battles in the War on Terror and one is with a news media that is actively perverting the truth about a very complex conflict.

    These twisted news sources are being exposed, pushed into the light.

    The amazing thing to a glass-half-full guy like me is that I think we are winning and that is why the reaction has been so strong against blogs and other non-pc news sources.

    Does MSM = Taliban ??
    Co-enablers of Al Qaeda??

    Just a thought.

  6. Army Mom says:

    My son, who is in the Army and stationed in Afghanistan on the Paki border, called yesterday to tell us that he is going to be very unavailable for a while (as in no contact at all). Things are definitely heating up. I trust my son to take care of business if he has to.

    We are praying for the safe completion of his mission. Please keep all our troops in your prayers.

    — One very frightened Army Mom

  7. Frogg says:

    Army Mom, please tell your son how grateful Americans are for everything he does for his country. He is in our prayers for a safe mission.

  8. Frogg says:

    A friend of mine once said to me that the war on terror started in Pakistan and will end in Pakistan. I think I am beginning to understand what he meant.

    Back in 2005/2006 at the height of our most difficult time in Iraq, I used to always predict that Iraq would be successful long before Afghanistan was. There was never a doubt in my mind.

    I would also not be surprised to find that many of those Taliban and friends gearing up for a new fight in Afghanistan didn’t just come from the battlefield they lost in Iraq.

  9. VinceP1974 says:

    There are some regions of Afghanistan / Pakistan that no outsider have ever been able to conquer.

    It’s a really tough area… and these people have nukes

  10. […] 600 Taliban had taken over some villages in Afghanistan and were threatening the government there. At the time I noted how ridiculous the odds were of the Taliban succeeding: Sorry if I am not impressed. Every time the […]