Monday, July 31, 2006

Handover in Southern Afghanistan

About 8,000 mostly British, Canadian and Dutch troops have deployed in southern Afghanistan as NATO's International Security Assistance Force expands its presence from the more stable north and west of the country.

The mission is considered the most dangerous and challenging in the Western alliance's 57-year history. It coincides with the deadliest upsurge in fighting in Afghanistan since late 2001 that has killed hundreds of people — mostly militants — since May.

"Those few thousand who oppose the vast majority of Afghan people and their democratically elected government should note this historic day and should understand they will not be allowed to succeed," Richards said.

Taliban-led rebels have stepped up attacks this year, sparking the bloodiest fighting in over four years and threatening Afghanistan's slow reconstruction and democratic reform after a quarter-century of war.

The insurgents have escalated roadside bombings and suicide attacks, mounting brazen attacks on several small towns and district police stations — a tactic rarely seen in the previous four years.

NATO hopes to bring a new strategy to dealing with the Taliban rebellion: establishing bases rather than chasing militants. It is also wants to win the support of locals by creating secure zones where development can take place.
There's one thing missing from this article, and that's the fact that the Taliban have been routed in every single encounter and have taken serious losses. Their so called summer offensive has turned into a rout.

The Taliban have taken serious losses because US forces went after the Taliban forces hard, and didn't necessarily rely upon developing bases but instead took the fight to the Taliban. Establishing bases pins NATO down to fixed locations, and gives the Taliban breathing room to operate. I think this change in strategy is a bad idea.

No comments: