It was just weeks ago that Steve Harper declared Canada's mission to Afghanistan a "great success." Actually he couched it by saying we had to "consider" our military excursion a great success. But any doubt was dispelled today by PostMedia's Matthew Fisher who actually uses the "V" word.
That's right, Fisher is proclaiming our victory over the Taliban in southern Afghanistan. Unfortunately this scribe doesn't actually define what represents victory in this sort of war. He's more of a cast bones and read entrails sort of guy.
...signs that the Afghan war has been won in Kandahar today are everywhere, from old Taliban haunts in the Horn of Panjwaii to the booming provincial capital.
The only thing the insurgents have been able to do lately is launch a few unsuccessful attacks on relatively soft targets and assassinate or randomly blow up government workers or civilians.
Most schools in Kandahar are now open. Most roads are free of improvised explosive devices.
Precious water has been sluicing through a network of canals repaired by the Canadian International Development Agency.
Even the number of women surviving childbirth is up.
Brig.-Gen. Dean Milner — Canada’s last commander of Task Force Kandahar — in a recent briefing for reporters added the startling assertion that there are no more than 30 insurgents left actively harassing Panjwaii, scuttling about ones and twos, planting IEDs and antagonizing the locals.
“If they go in big groups, we find them. We are killing Taliban almost daily in the battle space.
“The insurgents are survivors, we’ve learned that. But we’ve diminished their numbers and capabilities. They’re still out there but in numbers too small to have an impact on anything. They’re low on supplies, low on capabilities, low on leadership.’’
So, there it is you see. Barely 30-insurgents left in Panjwai and we kill more almost daily. On that basis we should have them completely exterminated by Canada Day and what a fitting present that would be.
As a credible journalist, like McClatchey's Jonathan Landay, would readily tell you, the Talibs move around and, at the moment, they're massed in the east and north and, of course, across the border in Pakistan. Landay, unlike Fisher and DiManno, knows the Mujads going back to the years he spent running the hills with them while they fought the Soviets.
If, as Canada's generals claim and their willing NewsyDupes relay, the Talibs are washed up, it's more than curious that even the Americans now admit they're in separate negotiations with the insurgents. So is Karzai. So are the Pakistanis. So is Iran. In fact there doesn't seem to be a player in the region that's not lining up for an urgent parlay with the Taliban. And with the Dutch gone and Canada, France and Germany ready to pull up stakes and Britain looking for the door, those Talib leaders must be feeling absolutely whipped, no? I wouldn't bet on it.
What really got me in reading these reports was not the journos' naivety but the rank contrivance Rosie couldn't resist tossing into her piece. Her fanciful story depicts Canada as having set up the American forces for victory, "If, that is, Obama's politically inspired draw-down hasn't set them up for failure, just as Afghanistan was teetering on the tipping point of salvation." And that is about as cheesy a bit of Canadian journalism as I've seen since Mike Duffy was sent to the Senate.