Aug 04 2008

Updates From The Afghanistan-Pakistan Border Regions 08_04_08

Published by at 11:47 pm under All General Discussions

Another quick review of some interesting articles I have come across in the past few days that might shed some light on what is happening in the war on terror, now focused on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region.

I found this article on the new respect garnered by the Afghanistan Army quite illuminating:

“THERE is zero trust in the government but the ANA [Afghan National Army] is our only hope. They behave well with the people and are stronger than the Taliban.” That was the pithy assessment of one tribal elder trudging back towards Arghandab district near Kandahar, the day after the largest operation so far by the fledgling Afghan army. It had taken just 24 hours from the first appearance of Taliban fighters for over 1,000 Afghan troops to deploy and drive them out of Arghandab.

After a slow start the army is at last emerging as a credible fighting force. In 2007 $7.4 billion went into training and equipping it and the police. Every week now, a Kandak (a 650-man battalion) finishes training and takes to the field. The army will reach its initial target of 80,000 early next year. On August 5th the first formal transfer of authority to Afghan forces is due to take place for the Kabul area.

Major progress in a country some claim all is lost.  This article covers the now heavy and constant fighting in the Swat Valley area of the NWFP, as does this article.

This article details how al-Qaeda now admits four top level commanders where killed in that Predator strike on July 28th, when it is suspected Ayman Zawahiri may have been also hit. 

I found this article interesting, it describes how a local taliban jirga decided to destroy three houses used as sanctuary by foreign fighters – is the tide turning on al-Qaeda?

Finally, the last strong holds for the Islamo Fascists are North and South Waziristan Agencies, Bajaur and Mohmand Agencies in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). There must be movement to take out these strongholds given the recent warning from the Taliban:

kesman Maulvi Umar told reporters from an undisclosed location. “The government must stop military operations and start dialogue,” Umar told AFP. “If the government starts any operation in Bajaur, Mohmand or any other tribal district, we will give a befitting reply.”

Seems to me that warning was more of a “don’t take out our last sanctuary” type of a bluff.

The bottom line – fighting is raging on the Pakistan side of the lawless tribal areas, but things seem to be calming down on the Afghan side as the border is now patrolled and monitored, and any incursions are met with deadly and swift force.

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