Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The Coalition Strikes Back

It's On! Or at least we're told it's on. About 4,000 British soldiers, along with about 300 Canadians and 1,000 Afghans have launched a campaign in Helmand province in the region of the Kajaki dam where the Brits have wrestled with insurgents all winter.

This time NATO is taking on more than just the Taliban. They're also targetting the drug trade and what are now called "narco-terrorists."

The offensive, named "Operation Achilles", isn't intended to fix and destroy the insurgents but to drive them out of the area and win the "hearts and minds" of the locals.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out. With the bulk of Britain's combat troops committed to this area the Taliban could choose to exploit their absence in other parts of the province. Or the insurgents could choose to lay low and bide their time until NATO declares victory and returns to its garrisons.
The worst possibility is that the Taliban have deliberately drawn the bulk of Britain's combat force to the Kajaki area to make it easier for them to strike elsewhere. This wouldn't be the first time Afghan guerrilas have played that trick.

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