By lex, on June 2nd, 2008
As promised in their political campaign last year, Oz packs it for combat forces ashore, taking 550 diggers – men you’d want alongside in a fight – along with. We’ll miss ‘em:
Australian troops ended their main combat mission in Iraq on Sunday, handing over their responsibilities in southern Iraq to U.S. forces.
An estimated 550 Australian troops, who served in a training and backup role to Iraqi forces in the provinces of Dhi Qar and Muthanna, made the transfer in a ceremony at Camp Talil outside Nasiriya, said Capt. Chris Ford, a British military spokesman in southern Iraq.
In the Af, a 44-year old British brigadier claims 7000 Taliban heads over the last two years, along with a great many senior leadership in recent months:
The new “precise, surgical” tactics have killed scores of insurgent leaders and made it extremely difficult for Pakistan-based Taliban leaders to prosecute the campaign, according to Brig Mark Carleton-Smith.
In the past two years an estimated 7,000 Taliban have been killed, the majority in southern and eastern Afghanistan. But it is the “very effective targeted decapitation operations” that have removed “several echelons of commanders”.
Some of those strikes were executed by SOF, including the SBS raid on Mullah Dadullah. Others have been executed by the Brits using American-made MQ-9 Reapers. Hundreds of which occupy the airspace over Iraq and Afghanistan over the course of a day.
We may or may not be able to win the war on terror just by killing bad guys. From Tom Rick’s Inbox (WaPo):
The numbers here, sent to me at my request by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Iraq, pretty much speak for themselves. This chart shows a major improvement in the safety of driving around Iraq with the U.S. Army. In January 2007, about 1 in 5 convoys in Iraq was attacked. By the end of last year, that ratio had fallen to 1 in 33. By April, it was just 1 in 100…
Al-Qaeda in Iraq ** has come under severe and prolonged attack over the last 12 months, with many of its leaders killed or captured. Finally, the redeployment of U.S. troops out into the Iraqi population, along with a rise in the quality of Iraqi forces, has helped produce better intelligence on the people carrying out roadside bombings.
It’s a good start.
** 08-21-2018 Original link gone; replacement found – Ed.