Skip to main content

War in Afghanistan 2009 Week 12

We confess. We've been knocked off our stride.

Despite our best hopes, we haven't been able to put out a weekly Afghanistan report consistently this year.

When we started our Afghanistan reports in 2006 we hoped to provide an overview of the fighting, primarily in Kandahar province where Canadian troops are stationed, and some analysis of the strategies involved. That gradually expanded to include military action throughout the country. Then into the lawless tribal regions of Pakistan.

Last year as the Taliban tried to destabilize Pakistan and to spark a war with India, we began to get overwhelmed. We thought we could get a handle on it, but...obviously not yet.

So this week we're using a time-honoured tactic---KISS---keep it simple, stupid. We'll focus on only a handful of topics while we regroup.


How time flies. Blink, and it’s already the season of the Feared Taliban Spring Offensive.

As sure as geese fly north in the springtime, the mainstream media has begun to roll out their annual scare stories. Expect this year’s model to be a variation of the Taliban’s newest spin as found in an early March story by Syed Saleem Shahzad, Asia Times Online's Pakistan Bureau Chief.

“…after striking peace deals with the Pakistani security forces, the newly formed United Front of Taliban in the Pakistani tribal areas is ready to pump at least 15,000 to 20,000 fresh fighters into Afghanistan. These are expected to start crossing the rugged - and unmanned - border in April,” he wrote.

See how many MSM news outlets report this without adding the next paragraph in Shahzad’s story:

United States President Barack Obama has promised an additional 17,000 US forces for Afghanistan…”

Them, 15,000. Us, 17,000.

Who do you think has the edge?
And what’s the United Front of Taliban?

It seems that in February the three main tribal leaders in Pakistan-- Hafiz Gul Bahadar, Mullah Nazir, and Baitullah Mehsud---decided to stop fighting each other and form a club together. They even put out pamphlets to announce the rebranding of the insurgency, because, goodness knows, the surest way to pump air into a lost cause is to change your name to something even fiercer.

But, but, but..haven't we been told the insurgency is resurgent? They're making a comeback? The Coalition forces are being defeated on all fronts?

Yes, unless you listen to the people.

A BBC-ABC poll conducted in December and January asked the question in the simplest terms:

Who would you rather have ruling Afghanistan today: the current government, or the Taliban?

The answer was also simple:

Current Government 82 percent.
Taliban 4 percent.

Now, who do you think the Afghan public wants to win the war?

Two recent developments need to be addressed.

1. Taliban Jack Layton and his MSM allies were ecstatic at a CNN interview with Prime Minister Stephen Harper. To listen to them, Harper said the Coalition forces were defeated and the mission to Afghanistan was lost.

So, for the record, here's exactly what Stephen Harper told CNN interviewer Fareed Zakaria.

We're not going to win this war just by staying. We're not going to -- in fact, my own judgment, Fareed, is, quite frankly, we are not going to ever defeat the insurgency. Afghanistan has probably had -- my reading of Afghanistan history, it's probably had an insurgency forever, of some kind.

What has to happen in Afghanistan is, we have to have an Afghan government that is capable of managing that insurgency and improving its own governance.

So, we are never going to defeat the insurgency. The best we can do is train Afghan forces that can take it on, and then we withdraw.

HARPER: Absolutely. Because I think, you know, a part of the calculation there is the fact that, ultimately, the source of authority in Afghanistan has to be perceived as being indigenous.

If it's perceived as being foreign -- and I still think we're welcome there -- but if it's perceived as being foreign, it will always have a significant degree of opposition.

The Prime Minister's message, without MSM spin, was simple. The war will be won when we can turn over the defence of the country to the Afghan government. Stability is the goal, not rebuilding the country from the ground up into a modern, western-styled democracy.

But the elements of that stability are the roots of a 20th century democracy.

One will bring the other eventually. The models are there.

India is a thriving democratic state which is reducing poverty by leaps and bounds, sending probes to the moon, churning out more engineers per year than the U.S., and still it fights an insurgency in Kashmir.

Israel has been a nation for 60 years, but is surrounded by mortal enemies and has to fight off periodic organized attacks by terrorist insurgents.

Afghanistan should be so lucky to be in their ranks.

2. U.S. President Obama has discovered moderate Taliban. We should, he says, be talking to the 70 percent of Taliban who are not ideologues and trying to make a deal with them. Wow, why didn't anyone think of that before?

Oh, because they did think of that before. In fact, that was the idee du jour of the British and Canadians last spring. How did that work out?

Oh, yeah. Four Canadians were killed this past week by roadside bombs.
We're holding out for Plan B. Kill as many of them as possible.

Nothing works better at deterring moderate insurgents as knowing that sure death awaits you.

A wide split has developed between private U.S. analysts of the war effort in Afghanistan. This is something to watch as the U.S. plans to introduce up to another 30,000 soliders into the war zone over the course of the year.

Strategypage, a website which covers armed forces worldwide, war, weapons, and intelligence takes a positive view of the Afghan effort.

January 17, 2009: The Taliban are shifting strategy in response to heavy losses fighting foreign troops. The Taliban has not been able to come up with a counterstrategy for the smart bomb and UAVs, which give foreign troops an unassailable advantage in battles. The word has gotten around, and Afghans are demanding more money to take up arms and join a bunch of Taliban. The Taliban still need these large groups of armed men. Just threatening Afghans about their girls schools, video and music stores, and not having a beard, does not work unless you can show up once in a while with a large bunch of armed friends, and punish those who defy you. But over 5,000 Taliban fighters were killed last year, and about as many badly wounded or arrested.


The U.S. is expanding its intelligence operations in Afghanistan, bringing in a lot of the equipment, and specialists, who were so useful in Iraq. The U.S. Army has developed intelligence tactics that provide "information dominance" that makes it difficult for the enemy to carry out attacks (without the U.S. knowing about it), and more vulnerable to American raids and sweeps.

The information based tactics concentrate on capturing or killing the enemy leadership and specialists (mostly technical, but religious leaders and media experts are often valuable targets as well). The Australian commandos have specialized in this approach, and made themselves much feared by the Taliban (who will make an extra effort to avoid dealing with the Australians).

The U.S. and NATO commanders know that the Taliban leadership is in trouble, with a new generation of leaders only recently shoving the older guys (veterans of the 1980s war with Russia) out of the way, and introducing more vicious tactics (more terrorism against reluctant civilians). This is backfiring, as it did in Iraq, and the Taliban leadership is not having an easy time trying to come up with a new strategy.


The Taliban are trying to adopt the Iraq "bombs not bullets" strategy against the unbeatable foreign troops. The use of roadside and suicide bombings are up. But these tactics don't kill enough foreign troops to make a difference, unless the foreign media can be manipulated into declaring the bombing losses as proof that the war in Afghanistan is hopeless.

Meanwhile Stratfor, an online intelligence service, is taking a negative view, arguing that the U.S. will soon pull its armed forces out of Afghanistan :

Strategic Divergence: The War Against the Taliban and the War Against Al Qaeda
January 26, 2009 1901 GMT

Does the United States need to succeed against the Taliban to be successful against transnational Islamist terrorists?

Logic argues, therefore, for the creation of a political process for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan coupled with a recommitment to intelligence operations against al Qaeda.

... we expect that the United States will separate the two conflicts in response to these realities. This will mean that containing terrorists will not be dependent on defeating or holding out against the Taliban, holding Afghanistan’s cities, or preserving the Karzai regime. We expect the United States to surge troops into Afghanistan, but in due course, the counterterrorist portion will diverge from the counter-Taliban portion. The counterterrorist portion will be maintained as an intense covert operation, while the overt operation will wind down over time. The Taliban ruling Afghanistan is not a threat to the United States, so long as intense counterterrorist operations continue there.

Lastly, media coverage of the war has, if anything, gotten worse. Here's just one sad example.

Growing Taliban use of marksmen worries U.S. military
By Nancy A. Youssef McClatchy Newspapers

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan - Taliban fighters increasingly are deploying precision marksmen to fire on U.S. troops at greater distances throughout opium-producing southern Afghanistan, according to the top two commanders for the southern region.


The expanded use of precision marksmen comes as the fighting shifts from eastern Afghanistan to the south, where the Taliban are trying to protect opium production, which is reputed to be their economic base.

But its only halfway through the story that you learn:

"So far, shooters have made use of long-barrel rifles, not specialized sniper weapons, and Nicholson said there was no indication that they had trained snipers."

In other words, the "precision marksmen" turned out to be opium farmers taking potshots at soliders from farther and farther away.

It is to weep.

Popular posts from this blog

The unreported bombshell conspiracy evidence in the Trudeau/SNC-Lavelin scandal

Wow. No, double-wow. A game-changing bombshell lies buried in the supplementary evidence provided to the House of Commons Judiciary Committee by former Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould. It has gone virtually unreported since she submitted the material almost a week ago. As far as we can find, only one journalist-- Andrew Coyne, columnist for the National Post--- has even mentioned it and even then he badly missed what it meant, burying it in paragraph 10 of a 14 paragraph story. The gist of the greatest political scandal in modern Canadian history is well-known by now. It's bigger than Adscam, the revelation 15 years ago that prominent members of the Liberal Party of Canada and the party itself funneled tens of millions of dollars in kickbacks into their own pockets from federal spending in Quebec sponsoring ads promoting Canadian unity. That was just venal politicians and a crooked political party helping themselves to public money. The Trudeau-Snc-Lavalin scandal is

Manitoba Hydro is on its deathbed. There, we said it.

Manitoba Hydro is on its deathbed. Oh, you won't find anyone official to say it. Yet . Like relatives trying to appear cheery and optimistic around a loved one that's been diagnosed with terminal cancer, the people in power are in the first stage of grief -- denial. The prognosis for Hydro was delivered three weeks ago at hearings before the Public Utilities Board where the utility was seeking punishingly higher rates for customers in Manitoba. It took us this long to read through the hundred-plus pages of transcript, to decipher the coded language of the witnesses, to interpret what they were getting at, and, finally, to understand the terrible conclusion.  We couldn't believe it, just as, we're sure, you can't--- so we did it all again, to get a second opinion, so to speak.  Hydro conceded to the PUB that it undertook a massive expansion program--- involving three (it was once four) new dams and two new major powerlines (one in the United States)---whi

Crips and Bloodz true cultural anchors of Winnipeg's aboriginal gangs

(Bebo tribute page to Aaron Nabess on the right, his handgun-toting friend on the left) At least six murder victims in Winnipeg in the past year are linked to a network of thuglife, gangster rap-styled, mainly aboriginal street gangs calling themselves Crips and Bloods after the major black gangs of L.A. The Black Rod has been monitoring these gangs for several months ever since discovering memorial tributes to victim Josh Prince on numerous pages on, a social networking website like Myspace and Facebook. Josh Prince , a student of Kildonan East Collegiate, was stabbed to death the night of May 26 allegedly while breaking up a fight. His family said at the time he had once been associated with an unidentified gang, but had since broken away. But the devotion to Prince on sites like Watt Street Bloodz and Kingk Notorious Bloodz (King-K-BLOODZ4Life) shows that at the time of his death he was still accepted as one of their own. Our searches of Bebo have turned up another f

Nahanni Fontaine, the NDP's Christian-bashing, cop-smearing, other star candidate

As the vultures of the press circle over the wounded Liberal Party of Manitoba, one NDP star candidate must be laughing up her sleeve at how her extremist past has escaped the scrutiny of reporters and pundits. Parachuted into a safe NDP seat in Winnipeg's North End, she nonetheless feared a bruising campaign against a well-heeled Liberal opponent.  Ha ha.  Instead, the sleepy newspeeps have turned a blind eye to her years of vitriolic attacks on Christianity, white people, and police. * She's spent years  bashing Christianity  as the root cause of all the problems of native people in Canada. * She's called for  a boycott of white businesses . * And with her  Marxist research partner, she's  smeared city police as intransigent racists . Step up Nahanni Fontaine, running for election in St. John's riding as successor to the retiring Gord Macintosh. While her male counterpart in the NDP's galaxy of stars, Wab Kinew, has responded to the controversy over

Exposing the CBC/WFP double-team smear of a hero cop

Published since 2006 on territory ceded, released, surrendered and yielded up in 1871 to Her Majesty the Queen and successors forever. Exposing the CBC/FP double-team smear of a hero cop Some of the shoddiest journalism in recent times appeared this long August weekend when the CBC and Winnipeg Free Press doubled teamed on a blatant smear of a veteran city police officer. In the latest example of narrative journalism these media outlets spun stories with total disregard for facts that contradicted the central message of the reports which, simplified, is: police are bad and the system is covering up. Let's start with the story on the taxpayer funded CBC by Sarah Petz that can be summed up in the lead. "A February incident where an off-duty Winnipeg officer allegedly knocked a suspect unconscious wasn't reported to the province's police watchdog, and one criminologist says it shows how flawed oversight of law enforcement can be." There you have it. A policeman, not

Winnipeg needs a new police chief - ASAP

When did the magic die? A week ago the Winnipeg police department delivered the bad news---crime in the city is out of control. The picture painted by the numbers (for 2018) was appalling. Robberies up ten percent in  a single year.  (And that was the good news.) Property crimes were up almost 20 percent.  Total crime was 33 percent higher than the five year average. The measure of violent crime in Winnipeg had soared to a rating of 161.  Only four years earlier it stood at 116. That's a 38 percent deterioration in safety. How did it happen? How, when in 2015 the police and Winnipeg's police board announced they had discovered the magic solution to crime? "Smart Policing" they called it.    A team of crime analysts would pore through data to spot crime hot-spots and as soon as they identified a trend (car thefts, muggings, liquor store robberies) they could call in police resources to descend on the problem and nip it. The police