Saturday, May 20, 2006

Afghanistan - Top Taleban commander 'arrested'

The BBC reports.

A top Taleban leader, Mullah Dadullah, has been captured in Afghanistan, Afghan officials have told the BBC.

The senior military commander was said to have been detained by international troops in southern Kandahar province.

Mullah Dadullah was a member of the Taleban's 10-man leadership council before the US-led invasion in 2001.

Of course the BBC downplay the good news and play up the terrorists.

Up to 100 people have died this week in some of Afghanistan's fiercest fighting since US-led forces ousted the Taleban.

What the BBC doesn't tell you is that about 90 of those killed were Taleban. But just to make sure you get the message that we're losing and the Taleban is on the rise, the BBC has this brilliant insight.

Our correspondent says there is no doubt the strength of the insurgents has been increasing and the thousands of British and international troops moving into the south will have their hands full.

Well the BBC's correspondent would say that wouldn't he? Now, let's look at the truth.

First let's visit the Counterterrorism Blog

The news reports of a major Taliban offensive in southeastern Afghanistan are inaccurate, as Coalition offensives and Taliban attacks have been lumped together to give the impression of a coordinated Taliban assault in multiple provinces. A reading of the various reports indicates that while the Taliban has launched a major strike on a police station and government center in Helmand province and a small scale attack on a police patrol in Ghazni, as well as two suicide attacks against U.S. contractors in Herat and an Afghan army base in Ghazni, the fighting in Kandahar was initiated by Afghan and Coalition security forces during planned operations. Over 100 have been reported killed during the fighting, with 87 being Taliban. Well over half of those killed were killed during the Coalition offensives in Kandahar.

There were two separate major engagements in Kandahar province, and both were initiated by the Coalition. Coalition forces conducted a raid and subsequent air strikes against a Taliban safe haven in the village of Azizi. As many as 27 Taliban are believed to have been killed during the operation. A joint Canadian and Afghan security force conducted a sweep in the Panjwai district of Kandahar, and killed 18 Taliban and captured 26 in the process. One Canadian officer was killed and three Afghan police were wounded during the operation.

It's an impression the BBC are happy to provide.

Strategy Page has more on the low quality of terrorists the Taleban are able to field and how they're failing.

The Taliban have been taking a beating. Despite having the advantage of surprise, they have encountered a largely hostile, and well armed, population that fights back. The government security forces are not as well trained and equipped as American or NATO forces, but they are more than a match for the Taliban. Desperate for a major "victory" (like capturing a town long enough to make some propaganda videos), several large attacks have been launched. All have failed. The Afghan and Coalition forces have developed tactics that make it very difficult for the Taliban to succeed. The Afghan security forces have radios now. If the Taliban hit, one call brings in Afghan and Coalition "quick reaction forces." These units arrive via ground or air transportation, and don't give the Taliban enough time to capture a town, or do much of anything else except try to flee. Pursuit is not pleasant, not with all those UAVs, helicopters and warplanes up there. To make matters worse, the Afghans have made deals with Pakistani forces just across the border, and often there is a Pakistani army reception committee waiting for any Taliban survivors who make it across the border. All of this is hurting Taliban recruiting. But the Taliban have a lot more money this year, and can pay what it takes to get more fighters.

No doubt they are still dangerous and fighting will continue, but as usual, things are not as bad as the BBC reports and would like.

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