By lex, on October 24th, 2010
In the northwest, special operations forces are said to be “making life difficult” for Taliban leadership:
October has been a calamitous month for the Taliban guerrillas waging war from sandy mountains and pistachio forests in this corner of northwestern Afghanistan.
The first to die was their leader, Mullah Ismail, hunted down and killled by U.S. Special Operations troops. Next came the heir apparent, Mullah Jamaluddin, even before he could take over as Taliban “shadow” governor. Within a week, several other top commanders were dead, a new governor had been captured and the most powerful among the remaining insurgents had lit out for the Turkmenistan border – all casualties of the secretive, midnight work of U.S. commandos.
And yet what has happened here in Badghis province also shows how large a gap remains between killing commanders and dismantling an insurgency. Nearly half of the province remains under insurgent control, an Afghan intelligence official estimated. A new Taliban governor has already been dispatched to the province, Afghan officials say, even though NATO portrayed Mullah Ismail’s killing as a “huge blow” that would “significantly reduce Taliban influence throughout the region…”
The barrage launched against the Taliban by Special Operations forces here in recent weeks is part of a broader American effort that is clearly succeeding. As other U.S. goals in Afghanistan have faltered – reforming the government, winning hearts and minds – Gen. David H. Petraeus and his new troops have so far succeeded at killing their enemies. American officials have held up the example of the onslaught against the Taliban leadership as a clear sign of progress, a development sure to factor into President Obama’s December review of the Afghan campaign…
The increased military pressure in recent months has undoubtedly made life more difficult for Taliban leaders.
Well, yes: In a literal sense, killing them does make life difficult for them.
In the south,* airborne infantry and ANA are preparing to assault the village that gave birth to Mullah Omar, the Taliban’s furtive leader:
The decisive battle to retake the Taliban heartland will be launched this week when American and Afghan troops mount an air assault on the insurgents’ stronghold in southern Afghanistan.
The target is Talukan, a village in the Horn of Panjwa’i, the southernmost area of Kandahar province, where the Taliban have ruled unchallenged for four years after driving out Canadian troops.
US and Afghan soldiers seized the Horn’s two other main villages — Mushan and Zangabad — last week.
Talukan, at the centre of the Horn, an area 19 miles long and six miles at its widest, shaped like the horn of a rhinoceros, is the Taliban command post.
Officers believe the insurgents, surprised by the speed of the push, have booby-trapped the village and will put up a fight. They are trapped — to the north is the Arghandab river and American troops, and to the south, the Reg desert and American posts to stop them fleeing to Pakistan.
Find, fix and finish.
The bag of money is part of a secret, steady stream of Iranian cash intended to buy the loyalty of Mr. Daudzai and promote Iran’s interests in the presidential palace, according to Afghan and Western officials here. Iran uses its influence to help drive a wedge between the Afghans and their American and NATO benefactors, they say.
The payments, which officials say total millions of dollars, form an off-the-books fund that Mr. Daudzai and Mr. Karzai have used to pay Afghan lawmakers, tribal elders and even Taliban commanders to secure their loyalty, the officials said.
“It’s basically a presidential slush fund,” a Western official in Kabul said of the Iranian-supplied money. “Daudzai’s mission is to advance Iranian interests.”
Sounds like a man who needs killing.
* 10-12-2018 Link Gone; no replacements found – Ed.
** 10-12-2018 Original link gone; replacement found – Ed.