Sunday, October 29, 2006

Dangerous Signs

Historical precedent would suggest a relative pause in insurgent activity over the coming Afghan winter. The fact we now hear talk of "winter offensives" should give everyone pause as to the situation:
The Observer newspaper says the Taliban show no signs of winding down for winter.

"The Taliban are planning a major winter offensive combining their diverse factions in a push on the Afghan capital, Kabul, intelligence analysts and sources among the militia have revealed," the British newspaper reported Sunday morning.

The insurgent Taliban forces have a stronghold around Kandahar, the country's second largest city, and are reported to be winning both the military conflict and the battle for hearts and minds of Afghans.

Typically, warring groups in Afghanistan take most of the winter off and concentrate on warmth and shelter.

But new tactics adopted from foreign fighting groups -- such as suicide bombings, roadside bombs and targeted assassinations -- make it easier for insurgents to continue their campaign during the most difficult weather conditions.

A "push" on Kabul? On of the major criticism of the Afghan government, Karzai is more the mayor of Kabul than the leader of the country. If the Taliban feels so emboldened to target Kabul, it serves as further proof of how grave the situation has become. If NATO forces were actually winning, then the Taliban would be focused on re-grouping and simply maintaining their sphere of influence. However, the Taliban thinking belies expansionist tactics and the confidence to carry on in the winter.

If the security situation in Kabul becomes unstable, precious coalition resources will have to be diverted to the capital, much the same as we currently see in Iraq. What a complete mess if NATO forces were forced to defend the capital in a more vigorous way. Hard to be on the offensive, eradicating Taliban, when forced to defend already held areas. The rhetoric from the Taliban is bold, aggressive and unparalleled. The danger for Canada, we have a government that sees stubbornness as a virtue, while a fluid situation evolves.

4 comments:

knb said...

The danger for Canada, we have a government that sees stubbornness as a virtue, while a fluid situation evolves.

Too true. You would think, with GWB's comment, "Hold the Course", having been so ridiculed this week, that the Harper government would change it's course. Perhaps they still will, but until they open this up to debate, which I believe, Canadians are smart enough to follow in spite of the complexities, I see this mission as futile.

This is an interesting account of where the Taliban stands, by a reporter from the UK.

This mission, post 9-11, I think we all got, but we reacted viscerally. It would seem there was no grand plan. Get them out of "government", but then what?

I've yet to see any real plan that preceeded that invasion, beyond, get the Taliban out, they are not giving us Osama, they are promoting terrorism...so get them out. Then what? The same could be said about Iraq. Get Saddam out.

The assumptions made about the local reaction to those attacks, were 'provincial' to say the least.

So, what now? I don't know how you go back in time and fix a mess.

Steve V said...

I just saw a clip on CBC, wherein a NATO convoy was driving through a village, only to be met by HUNDREDS of people throwing stones at the vehicles. Harper's stay the course mentality, as though a sign of strength, will be our undoing.

knb said...

I do not want that as our legacy. We WERE a force that was honoured, to be contended with to be sure, but respected.

We are squandering that. It makes me sad beyond belief. I never thought I'd see that in my lifetime.

knb said...

Based on this story, "fluid situation" may be an understatement.