November 1, 2007:
Many of the
Taliban military operations make no sense. In the past few days there was a
raid in Western Afghanistan, where several hundred Taliban overran a district
headquarters (a small town, sort of a county seat, with a few dozen cops and
civil servants). The raid left four police, six civilians and 30 Taliban dead.
By the next day the Taliban were gone, and Taliban propagandists were claiming
the conquest of another district capital, at least for a few hours in the
middle of the night. Further west,
nearly 300 Taliban, moving in small groups, assembled in several villages
outside Kandahar (the "capital" of the Taliban movement). This
concentration of fighters was detected, and now the Taliban are surrounded.
Civilians, knowing the Taliban tendency to use civilians as human shields, are
fleeing the area. The Taliban move is linked to the death, two weeks ago (from
a hear attack, not a bullet), of a prominent
anti-Taliban tribal leader. But it's going to end with another massacre
of Taliban gunmen. The Taliban will declare this a victory, because the brave
Taliban stood up to the foreigners and their Afghan lackeys, and died like men.
October 31, 2007: In the last
two months, nearly 300 Taliban have been killed in Helmand province, which is
the center of the drug business. Here,
about 40 percent of the nations heroin is produced (by growing poppies and
refining part of the plants into opium and heroin.) That's about a third of the
world supply. This one province is Heroin Central, and lots of Afghans (drug
gangs and Taliban) are willing to fight to defend it.
October 30, 2007: The U.S. is
getting more vocal in criticizing NATO countries that have sent troops to
Afghanistan, but refuse to let those soldiers near any combat. Meanwhile, a few
NATO nations (particularly the U.S., Britain, Canada and Australia) do most of
the fighting. Germany is the biggest offender here. The German troops want to
get involved, but their political leaders back home do not. As a result, more
Afghans (soldiers and civilians) die. Most European nations are willing to
support freedom in Afghanistan with gestures, like sending money or troops, but
not by risking the lives of their citizens.
October 29, 2007: So far this year, Taliban and bandits have
raided 55 convoys carrying food aid for starving Afghans. These raids left 34
UN personnel dead, and 76 kidnapped (to be ransomed later). About a thousand
tons of food was stolen (to be sold on the open market). This abuse of people
bringing aid to desperate Afghans is an ancient local practice. Foreigners, no
matter what their intentions, are seen as a potential source of loot. Tribes
differ in their attitudes towards these generous foreigners, and some of the
tribes, and individuals, prefer to take what they want, rather than wait for
some foreigners to give it to them.