Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Taliban Begin to Encircle Kabul

Remember all the stories about how we had beaten back the Taliban, knocked them off balance and disrupted their planned spring offensive? Maybe we didn't achieve quite as much as claimed.

The Christian Science Monitor reports that the recent Taliban kidnapping of 23-Korean aid workers is just the latest evidence of the spreading insurgency.

It suggests that the Taliban have consolidated enough power in border provinces to strike farther north, with an eye toward ringing Kabul from the south. Few analysts say that Kabul itself is in danger of direct attack, and none say it is in any danger of falling. But the situation echoes what happened to the Soviets two decades ago, when they maintained control of the cities and little else.

"Ghazni is important as the gateway to Kabul, and control of that road is very important, both symbolically and practically," says Joanna Nathan, a Kabul-based security analyst for the International Crisis Group.

The increasing instability on Kabul's southern doorstep is a concern for President Hamid Karzai's government and its allies. The insurgency has always been centered in the south, where the Taliban was born from ultraconservative Pashtun tribes. But it is creeping northward and farther from Pakistan.

"It is getting farther away from the border," says Ms. Nathan. "What was cross-border is becoming local."

In recent months, suicide bombings in the far north – in Badakhshan and Kunduz – also suggest an attempt to widen the theater of combat, at least superficially. The attempt is more deeply rooted in Ghazni, where the Taliban can attempt to marshal support from a disaffected local populace made up largely of conservative farmers. Local Taliban have been reinforced by Taliban from the deeper south, says Lee.

This does not necessarily suggest growing sympathy for militant Islam. Rather it indicates that some Afghans have lost their patience with the government and are turning against it. The effect has been to constrict the flow of trade on roads south of Kabul, cutting it off from a major trading partner, Pakistan.


Anonymous said...

Perhaps someone should let the good O'Connor in on the detail. Seems he and Stevie are out of the loop.

The Mound of Sound said...

O'Connor and Hillier know full well what's happening. That said, they're focused on Canada's small part of the action. That our success or failure will be largely determined by events outside Canada's sector is simply ignored.

Anonymous said...

Kabul and the north should have been completely rebuilt and secured with Afghan armed forces and infrastructure before anyone even considered going into the south to do GW's bidding. We have no business in the mountains of the south.

The Mound of Sound said...

Anon, you're probably right but it's a bit late for that argument. I'd really like to know what Hillier was thinking when he pushed for "the mission."

Oldschool said...

Damm those federal LIBS for getting us in this situation . . .

If you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a small chance of survival. There may even be a worse case; you may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves." Winston Churchill

What will you be doing when the battle gets closer to home??? eg: France, England, Spain and Bali???
Our time will come . . . it may be 30 or 40 years away . . . but, maybe what we do today will make a difference. Anyone notice what is going on in Australia these days???

The Mound of Sound said...

You know Oldschool, your kind is always clamoring for war and yet nowhere to be found when it comes to the fighting and dying part. I've seen this movie too many times before. Don't forget in Canada it was the MacPaps who first took up arms against fascism and you rightwing nutbars who wanted to throw them in jail for it.